Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Child abuse and bullying In Hong Kong schools

We recently connected with a U.K.-based group called @SHOUTwithCAABS on twitter, an advanced and net-savvy organisation dedicated to ending bullying in schools and providing a service to abused children.

CAABS - the Child Abuse - Anti Bullying System is - is a unique system that allows victims to report incidents of abuse or bullying with just three clicks of a computer mouse.

From their website:

CAABS Report is a very easy to use visualised 'Early Identification and Reporting System'. Designed for school computers, CAABS allows children from as young as 5 years old to be able to report child safety issues without any of the traditional barriers that
are currently associated with preventing many children from reporting.

It got us wondering what the situation was like here in Hong Kong, and indeed if any systems like CAABS existed here.

Our first enquiries among parents and some children's welfare groups have indicated that no, nothing like this is available in Hong Kong. But the response from some parents was they wish it were.

Finding information about bullying in Hong Kong is perhaps not as easy as it might be in places such as the United Kingdom or the United States. There are various factors, and we'd like to investigate further before listing them here and offering our opinions, and those of the experts, on possible reasons and solutions.

It is obvious that bullying takes place, but there is a lot of finger pointing - it only happens in the schools where there is a larger mix of local and migrant children, it only happens in what Hong Kong describes as its 'Band 3' schools, deemed as the lowest quality secondary schools in the territory.

But one fact did seem to stand out, youngsters from the LGBT community are frequent targets.

Cyber-bullying is another area where year-on-year reports of known cases are increasing.

Our interest is primarily in the welfare of the child. Whether the bullying is taking place in school, on the Internet, or at home.

We have reached out to several groups and are now awaiting their response, but if you would like to contribute to this investigation, please email us or leave your comments below.

With your help, we can help raise awareness of this issue.

And with that awareness, the relevant groups and government departments will be better prepared to take educated steps towards making our homes and schools a safer place for our children.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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