Definition of Child Abuse in HK
Any act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs the physical / psychological health and development of an individual under the age of 18. This is not a legal definition, but is set out in the Procedural Guide for Handling Child Abuse Cases to facilitate relevant professionals or personnel to safeguard the welfare of children being abused or at risk of abuse.
Child abuse includes:
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
Child abuse can be committed in many different forms. There is no specific ordinance on child abuse. Depending on the act and circumstances, a child abuse perpetrator can be prosecuted under the Crimes Ordinance (Cap 200) for incest, rape, indecent assault, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.; or under the Offences Against the Person Ordinance (Cap 212) for exposing child whereby life is endangered, ill-treatment or neglect, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, etc. Compare this with the legal framework of the US.
Neglect is severe or a repeated pattern of lacking of attention to a child’s basic needs that endangers or impairs the child’s health or development. Neglect may be:
- Physical (e.g. failure to provide necessary food, clothing or shelter, failure to prevent physical injury or suffering, lack of appropriate supervision or left unattended)
- Medical (e.g. failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)
- Educational (e.g. failure to provide education or ignoring educational needs arising from a child’s disability )
- Emotional (e.g. ignoring a child’s emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care);
|Physical Indicators||Behavioural Indicators|
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