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Child Mental Health and Child Protection

C2.2 Protecting Children from Maltreatment:
Identifying the Victims and the Indicators

Dr Shuk-mui Tai
Associate Consultant,
Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine,
Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital

Dr Shuk-mui Tai has been working in the Accident and Emergency Department after graduation from CUHK before pursuing her subspecialty training in Paediatrics. She has been an advocate for child protection who has taken up the role as Medical Coordinator of Child Abuse since 1998 and currently she is the convenor of the coordinators. She is also a member of the HKE District Committee on Children and Family Welfare which is a platform for various society members, NGOs and professionals to collaborate and promote child and family welfare and child protection. Dr Tai has also delivered a number of talks in various seminar and symposium on child protection organized by the Social Welfare Department and HKE/Wan Chai District.

Child maltreatment is defined as any act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs the physical/ psychological health and development of an individual under the age of 18. It is important to understand the definitions of various types of child maltreatment and to recognize the indicators. To safeguard the physical and psychological safety of children, early identification of the victims and support of family is important.

The child protection requires multi-disciplinary co-operation and management. Various disciplines such as the school teachers, social workers, medical professionals and police may be involved. The Social Welfare Department in collaboration with relevant professionals has drawn up a “Procedural Guide for Handling Child Abuse Cases” for reference by different professionals in taking necessary actions for suspected child maltreatment cases. This procedure guide was revised and implemented in April 2020 as “Protecting Children from Maltreatment Procedural Guide for Multi-disciplinary Cooperation”.

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