Child abuse points to parent stress

Local | Erin Chan 23 Apr 2021

Two mothers were arrested after taking frustrations out on their children.

One poured hot water over her two sons while another was throttling her son with a scarf.

They were among a series of child abuse cases last year.

And they received renewed attention in the wake of a father and a stepmother being sentenced to life imprisonment this week for murdering a five-year-old girl.

Police said 190 child abuse cases were recorded in the first three months of this year - a 34.8-percent rise from the corresponding period last year.

There were 769 child abuse cases last year, though that was down 5.4 percent from 813 in 2019.

Among the 769, 383 were related to physical offenses against children, including 74 of assault and battery.

In a case reported last February, two boys aged seven and 10 had hot water poured over their heads and backs by their 36-year-old mother several times between 2015 and 2020.

The mother did so to vent her anger over parenting and financial troubles, said Moon Cheung Po-yuet, a chief inspector responsible for family conflicts and sexual violence.

The case was reported to police by neighbors when the boys screamed for help.

Another case, reported in December, involved a seven-year-old boy, whose mother, 43, had mental health issues. She nearly killed him by strangling him with a scarf after losing control during a homework session.

"Realizing her act was wrong the mother stopped and then locked herself in a bedroom, where she attempted to commit suicide with a nylon rope," Cheung said.

"The boy called his father, who reported to police. The mother was saved eventually."

Cheung said parents often do not intend to harm their kids but resort to corporal punishment due to frustrations.

She said the number of child neglect cases also increased 23 percent to 300 last year.

In one case an eight-year-old boy was left home alone for four days. The mother had asked relatives to take care of the child while she went to the mainland.

"But she was stranded there until June due to the pandemic," Cheung said.

"A security guard noticed the boy was alone for four days and sought help."



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