Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuses should not have too broad a coverage: Law Chi-kwong

Labor secretary Law Chi-kwong said a proposed mechanism of mandatory reporting of suspected child abuses should not have too broad a coverage, or it would lead to a waste in law enforcement resources.

The Legislative Council Panel on Welfare Services is discussing whether the government should legislate to establish a mandatory reporting mechanism for suspected child abuse cases.

The proposed mandatory reporting mechanism will cover seven types of professionals, including teachers, health care workers and social workers, among others.

Community nannies, foster parents and tutors will not be included .

Some Legco members also suggested that the mechanism should be expanded to protect the mentally disabled.

Law voiced reservations over further expanding the scope, saying it could lead to abuses of the mechanism.

An excessive amount of cases could be reported, leading to a waste of law enforcement efforts to deal with non-urgent cases, which is counterproductive, he said.

“If we want to complete the legislation within a short period of time, it should focus on child abuse at this moment,” Law said.

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