After a study period of 13 years the Hong Kong Chief Executive appointed review body The Law Reform Committee, has made final recommendations to reform the current Sexual Offense Laws in December 2019. Among them are a number that are relevant to child sexual abuse issues you might want to know about.
The existing law has been criticised because some of these offences are gender-specific, while others are based on sexual orientation. There are also concerns that the existing sexual offences may not adequately reflect the range of non-consensual conduct which should be subject to criminal sanction. The maximum sentences that are applicable to the various offences may also need to be reviewed.
Some of the final recommendations contained in the report are:
- there should be a uniform age of consent in Hong Kong of 16 years of age, which should be applicable irrespective of gender and sexual orientation;
- offences involving children and young persons should be gender neutral with two separate types of offences, one involving children under 13 and the other involving children under 16, and capable of being committed by either an adult or a child;
- the creation of a new offence of sexual grooming to protect children against paedophiles who might groom them by communicating with them on a mobile phone or on the internet to gain their trust and confidence with the intention of sexually abusing them;
- the offence of incest should be reformed to become gender neutral; to cover all penile penetration of the mouth, vagina and anus and other forms of penetration; and be extended to cover uncles (aunts) and nieces (nephews) who are blood relatives as well as adoptive parents;
- the proposed creation of a new offence of sexual exposure to cover exposure of one’s genitals in private or public in a sexual manner targeting a specific victim
If you wish further information on this project, please write to the Secretary of the Law Reform Commission on email@example.com
[Peter Duncan, chairman of the Law Reform Commission’s review of sexual offences subcommittee. Photo: Nora Tam]