Each child has the right to survival, protection, development and participation, says Donna Wong, acting director of non-government child protection agency, Against Child Abuse.
Wong’s comments came after a 31-year-old mother was arrested in her dirty flat, where police found her two children – a sister and brother aged eight and four – who had missed school for a long period.
Hong Kong has reported many child abuse scandals recently. Last Monday, two people were charged with murder after a five-year-old girl died on Saturday.
Schools are the first line of defence against child abuse says NGOs, after the death of a five-year-old girl in Tuen Mun
Wong said that children should have access to food, shelter and clothes, and they should be able to freely express their views.
“Their parents should also act as guardians, giving them advice and protection in dangerous situations,” she added.
In the latest case, ACA’s acting director said the two children might have been neglected and deprived of basic rights - like having a good-quality education and living in sanitary conditions, which Wong said can greatly affect their physical and psychological development.
Chief inspector Gisella Chan Yuk-man of Mong Kok district said there were no apparent wounds on the children who seemed to be of normal weight. The boy, however, was naked.
Wong added that the best thing a child who is being hurt can do is to tell an adult they trust, including teachers, school social workers or relatives. In case of an emergency, they should go directly to the police.
According to statistics published by the Social Welfare Department, there were 704 child abuse cases between January and September 2017, including 277 cases of physical abuse, 237 cases of sexual abuse, 167 cases of neglect, 18 cases of multiple abuses, and five cases of psychological abuse.