The BBC news has been very distressing these last few months. Almost every day seems to bring news of yet another so-called celebrity being accused of child sex abuse, dating back many years. How very distressing and damaging for those poor children, now adults, to have carried this pain around with them from childhood.
When I first came to work in Hong Kong I must admit the work seemed so much easier. I had worked for many years in the UK as a health visitor and child health manager and a lot of my work had involved dealing with child abuse. Sexual abuse of children was possibly the most shocking aspect of my work. I remember thinking when I first started working in Hong Kong how much less harrowing the work was here, the parents were mostly affluent and educated.
Professionally I moved my focus and monitoring skills in a different direction and I rarely thought about physical abuse, let alone sex abuse. Yet why should I be so complacement? Why should I not warn my clients about predators? They are everywhere. Not just at children’s theme parks or the beach or swimming pool. They could be visitors to your home, sports instructors, tutors, helpers, drivers, nannies, church members . In many countries anyone working with children is required to supply police checks but only a few positions require this here. How easily do we place our children with such people, without question?
And there can’t be many places in the world where complete strangers feel it is there right to come up and take photographs of babies and children without permission.Yet in Hong Kong it just seems like standard behaviour which should be warmly accepted. I’m sure in most cases such requests are entirely innocent but how can we be sure where such photographs end up and what the motivation is behind the photographer?
I was wrong to forget about child abuse. It happens in Hong Kong, just as it happens anywhere. As parents, we need to be watchful. Yvonne