Photo: HKSPC head office via Wikicommons
On Monday, the Social Welfare Department is sent an external team of pyschiatrists, nurses and social workers to a Mong Kok child care home that has seen a number of abuse allegations against its staff members. 18 have been arrested to date.
The saga first began last Christmas when a witness reported seeing physical abuse at the Hong Kong Society For The Protection of Children (HKSPC) foster home in Mong Kok. Police investigations showed evidence of “head-hitting, hair-pulling, slapping, tossing the children onto the ground and towards the wall”.
On 27 Dec, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) which the HKSPC reports to, sent an “inter-disciplinary team, comprising more than 20 clinical psychologists, nurses, social workers” to investigate. They observed each of the 70 residents of the home individually and them to be in stable condition.
To date, 16 employees have been arrested for abusing 29 children aged 1 to 3 years old, all which have been hospitalised. Police have said that there is around 60,000 hours of evidence which will required 1 – 2 months to review. They will not rule out any further arrests.
CE Carrie Lam spoke out at the time, stating that she found the situation ‘outrageous’ and sent her welfare chief to investigate the case personally.
On Monday (17 Jan), the SWD additionally sent an independent review committee to monitor the situation at the foster home. They will submit a report on their findings by January 25th. The SWD does not currently believe this to be symptomatic of a wider issue, but have pledged to improve services and invited the public to join in inspections of the Children’s Home to improve transparency.
In September, the Law Reform Commission proposed a law that would make it illegal for a bystander to not report abuse, calling it “failure to protect a child or vulnerable person where the child’s or vulnerable person’s death or serious harm results from an unlawful act or neglect”.
Additional reporting by Cyril Ma
This article was originally summarized in shorter (and more casuallier) form on our daily newsletter ‘High Tide’ which is sometimes funny, sometimes not, but definitely quick.
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