‘Social workers not best suited to handle abuse’

Lawmaker Priscilla Leung on Saturday urged the government to set up a centre to train specialists in child psychology, saying social workers may not be best suited to handle suspected child abuse cases.

She was commenting after a couple was recently given life sentence for murdering their five-year-old daughter in 2018.

Currently every two kindergartens are allocated one social worker, but the Business and Professionals Alliance lawmaker said the arrangement is not good enough.

“Social workers from my observation may not be the most suitable persons and enjoy the expertise to solve this kind of problem,” she said.

She added that the new centre should be established under the supervision of the Social Welfare Department and Education Bureau to train professionals.

“This kind of specialist is not only to provide a service or counselling to the person who suffers from abuse, but also to handle the emotions of the parents, teachers, as well as maybe even social workers, who are very young.”

The chairperson of Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights, Priscilla Lui, meanwhile told RTHK that a mechanism is urgently needed to investigate child abuse deaths, and to find out what precluded early prevention of such tragedies.