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Safeguarding Our Kids’ Health: A Voice from Nurses

B1.2 Child Maltreatment in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic:
What Are the Potential Reasons?

Prof Janet YH Wong
Associate Professor,
School of Nursing,
The University of Hong Kong

Prof Janet YH Wong, RN, PhD, FHKCHSE, FACHSM, is an Associate Professor at the School of Nursing of the University of Hong Kong. She received her PhD at the University of Hong Kong. During her PhD study, she had been awarded Fulbright visiting scholarship affiliated with University of Virginia in the United States to work on domestic violence research.

Her principal research area lies in intimate partner violence against women including in marriage and in dating relationships. She completed a few large-scale survey and medical chart review study to investigate domestic violence. She has been contributed to the prevention of intimate partner violence by targeting young adults.

The research findings enabled the development of Dating C.A.F.E. training workshops for university students, a public education website, an interactive computer-based sex education programme, and a HPV vaccination promotion project with the ultimate goal to reduce dating/sexual violence, risky sexual behaviours, sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.

News reported that child maltreatment have plunged during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and lockdown. Obviously, COVID-19 has made more or less stress on people in the world due to job loss and income stability. Literature has shown that job loss, income stability, parenting issues are associated with child maltreatment, especially during disaster and emergencies. However, the effect of those factors on child maltreatment during the COVID-19 pandemic is not known.

We conducted a population-based online survey between May 29 to June 16 2020 on parents who were (1) residing in Hong Kong at the time of enumeration, (2) aged 18 or above; (3) able to understand Chinese, (4) married or cohabited, and (5) having and living with children under 10. Parents who are psychologically unprepared or unable to read Chinese are excluded. We aimed to study the association between child maltreatment and job loss, income stability, parenting and other factors, under COVID-19. Multiple logistic regression was conducted to analyze the association among child maltreatment abuse and demographic characteristics, such as parents’ gender, age, changes of economic status during the COVID-19 epidemic, health literacy, knowledge of COVID-19, mental health, level of difficult in discussing issues related to COVID-19 with their children, and level of confidence in implementing the health-related practices by their children. In this talk, we will briefly report the survey findings and discuss the possible strategies that we can protect children, the vulnerable group in society, during infectious disease pandemic.

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