Children's views on child abuse and neglect: Findings from an exploratory study with Chinese children in Hong Kong

Yuk Chung Chan, Gladys L.T. Lam, Wan Chaw Shae

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This research study explored children's views on issues about child abuse in Hong Kong and examined their implications on child protection work and research in Chinese societies. Method: Six primary schools were recruited from different districts of Hong Kong. Five vignettes of child maltreatment in the form of flash movies were presented to 87 children in 12 focus groups for discussion. The process was video-taped and the data were transcribed verbatim for data analysis by NUDIST. Results: (1) Children do not have a homogeneous view on issues about child abuse and neglect, and their awareness and sensitivity to different kinds of child abuse are also different; (2) some of their views on child abuse and neglect are uniquely their own and are markedly different from those of adults; (3) some of the views expressed by children, however, are very much akin to those of adults, such as the factors they would consider in deciding whether a case is child abuse or not; (4) children's disclosure of abuse in Hong Kong is often affected by the Chinese culture in which they live, like filial piety and loyalty to parents. Conclusion: Children's views on issues of child abuse and neglect, no matter they are the same or different from those of adults, serve to inform and improve child protection work. Children are not only victims in need of protection. They are also valuable partners with whom adult practitioners should closely work. Practice implications: Children have, and are able to give, views on child abuse. They should be listened to in any child protection work no matter their views are same with or different from those of adults. As this study suggests, the relatively low sensitivity of the children to child neglect and sexual abuse, and their reluctance to disclose abuse and neglect due to their loyalty to parents are areas to focus on in preventive child protection work in a Chinese society like Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-172
Number of pages11
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Children's voices
  • Chinese culture
  • Hong Kong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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