Domestic Violence in Hong Kong
“Family Law & Practice in Hong Kong”, 2nd ed. Patricia Hewitt (2014), Sweet & Maxwell; pp 481-506
Posted: 10 Jul 2014
Date Written: June 9, 2013
Over the last few years domestic violence in Hong Kong has been a topic which has gone from being barely acknowledged as a social problem to being the high profile subject of proposals for legislative reform. Levels of reported cases of domestic violence are on the increase, although this may be attributed to higher levels of reporting as social awareness rises rather than being indicative of a higher rate of incidence of domestic violence. It must of course be remembered that a large proportion of domestic violence is not reported and many victims suffer in silence. Many more victims seek help but do not wish to pursue a criminal prosecution, preferring instead to rely upon the injunctive relief available under the civil law. Following the tragedy at Tin Shui Wai in 2004 when a mother and her two young daughters were killed by her violent husband while they were trying to leave him, there was a considerable increase in public and professional interest in and awareness of the problem of domestic violence in Hong Kong. A number of steps have already been undertaken by both the the Hong Kong Administration, in particular the Social Welfare Department, and the Hong Kong Police Force to improve responses to incidences of domestic violence. However, changes to the law have taken longer to develop. The Domestic Violence Ordinance had been in force since 1986 and was based largely on the English legislation, the Divorce & Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1976. Although in the United Kingdom this 1976 Act of Parliament has been repealed and new laws introduced on more than one occasion, the Hong Kong enactment remained unchanged until 2008 when the first Domestic Violence (Amendment) Ordinance was passed. This chapter reviews the path to legislative reform and the subsequent state of the law on domestic violence today in Hong Kong.
Keywords: Family Law, domestic violence, non-molestation injunction, ouster orders, batterer intervention programme, Hong Kong
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation