An expert on children’s development on Wednesday called for more training and support for parents, teachers and childcare workers to help prevent abuse.
The suggestion from Commission on Children member Patrick Ip comes after a number of abuse cases hit the headlines this year, including prosecutions involving a foster home in Prince Edward.
Ip, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong’s department of paediatrics and adolescent medicine, said the authorities' inspections of places caring for children are effective, but resources should be put into promoting positive interactions and changing mindsets regarding the use of corporal punishment.
“Prevention work is far more important because positive parenting should be the way to go in order to empower the parents as well as other childcarers on how to properly handle the emotional problems and also the behavioural issues of young children, rather than using physical means including corporal punishment to stop their improper behaviours,” he said.
Ip said the government could consider promoting positive parenting at maternal and child health care centres and work with NGOs.
“It is not just a matter of money, but actually a matter of culture, investment of the government and also of individual community members into the environment to bring up a child would be critical.”
He also underlined the importance of building a support network for carers.
“When they actually feel too stressed or feel difficult, try to find some support and some help. Could be from the families and other relatives, could be from good friends or colleagues,” he said.
“Proper supporting network is something that we are going to build up in the coming years.”