Foster home investigating abuse allegations

An organisation that runs a foster home for babies and toddlers in Prince Edward says it is looking into allegations that its staff used corporal punishment against children.

The police, meanwhile, said three staff members of the Children’s Residential Home, run by the Society for the Protection of Children, had been arrested. Two have been charged with willfully assaulting children under care and will appear in Kwun Tong Court on Sunday. A 23-year-old has been released on police bail.

It’s understood that following a police investigation, the number of alleged victims stood at 18.

In a statement, the society said it had reported to the police and the Social Welfare Department after it found that staff at the Prince Edward home had allegedly “used corporal punishment” on a group of children aged between two and three last Friday.

The facility takes care of children who are orphans, abandoned by their parents, referred by the courts or come from problematic families.

The society said staff members who had committed a serious breach had been dismissed, but did not say how many of them were involved.

In a press briefing, the police said three women, aged 23 to 44, were taken into custody on Wednesday night.

Officers said the case came to light after a nearby resident witnessed the suspected assault and notified managers of the home.

The registered charity said it had arranged a nurse and a clinical psychologist to check on the physical and mental conditions of the children and would let them undergo further examinations in hospital, adding it is setting up a special team to look into the case and review its monitoring system.

“Our Society has always put much emphasis on children’s well-being and safety. We would not allow staff to harm or conduct any inappropriate acts towards children,” the statement said.

In light of the case, a member of the Commission on Children, Priscilla Lui, renewed her call for the government to ban corporal punishment in Hong Kong.

“I think the government needs to speed up the entire process of deciding on this particular important issue of [banning corporal punishment], to ensure the baseline in this society is clear enough for everyone,” she told RTHK.

“I think the physical punishment or the punitive kind of approach must be nipped in the bud,” she said.
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Last updated: 2021-12-24 HKT 23:20