Epidemiology of Child Abuse and Its Geographic Distribution in Hong Kong (2001-2010)

Epidemiology of Child Abuse and Its Geographic Distribution in Hong Kong (2001-2010)

Epidemiology of Child Abuse and Its Geographic Distribution in Hong Kong (2001-2010) 590 824 TALK Hong Kong

Research on the scope of child abuse including sexual abuse in Hong Kong is rare so we wanted to share with you this report produced by the University of Hong Kong. It includes a look at data from both the Social Welfare Department and Hospital Authority and gives a glimpse at diagnosis outcomes such as suicidal attempts or mental health issues as a result of abuse.

The document is quite dense but below are some extracts.

Full title: Epidemiology of Child Abuse and Its Geographic Distribution in Hong Kong: An Important Social Indicator of Different Districts and Communities (A Central Policy Unit Commissioned Report)
Data Sources: 1) CPR under the Social Welfare Department and 2) Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System (CDARS) and Accident and Emergency Information System (AEIS) under the Hospital Authority
Principal Investigator: Dr Patrick Ip – Clinical Associate Professor, Community Child Health Unit, Department of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, HKU



Child abuse is known to be a prevalent problem worldwide.  Its relevant statistics have been considered as important social indicators in the UK and many western countries.  Recent study in UK reported that the overall burden of child maltreatment remained stable and the annual incidence of hospital admissions declined significantly.  The situation in Hong Kong was, however, rather different.  A territory-wide household survey in 2004 reported a significant prevalence of child abuse and abuse related issues among HK families; the maltreatment related hospital admission was also increased from 33 per 100,000 in 2001 to 73 per 100,000 in 2008.  Furthermore, districts with relatively low socio-economic status were found to have more prominent child abuse incidence.  These findings coincided with the official statistics from Social Welfare Department, which reported the annual child maltreatment incidence increased 87% from 2001 to 2010.

  • …some cases established as child abuse, e.g. sexual abuse, were not admitted to public hospitals…
  • …There was no need for hospitalisation for some child abuse (e.g. sexual abuse)
  • …suicidal attempts were more commonly found in persons suffered (sic) from sexual and psychological abuse…
  • Victims of incest and sexual intercourse with relatives besides parents were found to have more records of suicidal attempts, while the victims of sexual intercourse with non-relatives were found to have more diagnosis in mental health problems.
  • …mental health problems were frequently found in sexual, psychological, and multiple abuse victims…
Examples of the Data
Characteristics of abusers in SWD databaseSWD only data – diagnosis comparisons (inpatient) by type of abuse
Characteristics of AbusersSexual AbuseAny DiagnosisSexual Abuse
Mean of Age38.28History of suicidal attempts5.24%
Record of being abused in childhood63.93%History of Injury22.05%
Record of mental illness9.58%Mental health problem15.28%
Congenital Malformations / Chromosomal Abnormalities6.11%
  1. Communications between the SWD and HA could be enhanced to further improve child abuse related services and prevention planning
  2. An HA built-in injury surveillance and alert system could assist in identifying child abuse victims earlier
  3. There is a need to further improve the case management of child abuse victims by involving both social services and medical professionals to fulfill the needs of abused children
  4. Future studies are also recommended to further investigate the underlying mechanism and impacts of child maltreatment.
Back to top
Privacy Preferences

When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

Click to enable/disable Google Analytics tracking code.
Click to enable/disable Google Fonts.
Click to enable/disable Google Maps.
Click to enable/disable video embeds.
Our website uses cookies for 3rd party services like Google. Define your Privacy Preferences and/or agree to our use of cookies.
Skip to content