Lawmaker warns of over-reporting of child abuse cases - RTHK
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Lawmaker warns of over-reporting of child abuse cases

2023-06-03 HKT 11:23
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  • Lawmaker warns of over-reporting of child abuse cases
Third Side lawmaker Tik Chi-yuen on Saturday said the proposed mandatory reporting mechanism on child abuse may have side-effects on children, if guidelines provided for professionals are not clear enough.

23 types of professionals, including social workers, teachers and doctors will be required to make a report about suspected child abuse, under the proposed mechanism.

Speaking on a radio programme, Tik said guidelines on what cases should be reported may be unclear.

He said some professionals may report all suspected cases to start with, because they are worried about possible legal consequences.

"We worry that there will be no clear standard, guideline for our frontline staff on how to handle the abuse cases. If there are no clear procedures and definitions, our staff may report without any hesitation," he said.

"The reports will become abuse situations, so this will bring a lot of frustration for the families, and we wonder if this will really be protection for the children."

Choi Lai-fong, vice-president of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, who is also a kindergarten principal, said teachers normally call parents and figure out what happened when they spot physical injuries on a child.

But she said under the proposed mechanism, parents who abused their child may try to cover up the truth.

The two urged the government to provide comprehensive guidelines to help professionals involved in the reporting mechanism in order to better protect children.