Since the start of the circuit breaker, the police have seen a 22 per cent increase in reports of family violence-related offences.
From April 7 to May 6, they received 476 reports for cases such as hurt, criminal force and assault, criminal intimidation, and wrongful confinement, up from the monthly average of 389 cases before the circuit breaker.
In a news release on Thursday (May 14), the police said they will take tough action against those who abuse their family members, and also enhance collaboration with social service agencies to combat family violence.
Such measures include proactively assessing the victim's risk of encountering further family violence, even if the victims do not make any request for assistance or shelter. Those assessed to be of higher risk will be referred to social services.
The police said they will also watch over higher-risk victims closely. This is done by checking with them if they need further assistance within the first week of lodging a police report.
Early intervention to offenders of family violence
To break the cycle of family violence, the police will target the root cause that led the offenders to commit violence on their family members.
Under the Home Team Community Assistance and Referral Scheme (HT CARES), offenders will be referred to social workers or suitable agencies to address the underlying issues through counselling, mental health assistance and financial assistance.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Home Affairs) Sun Xueling noted: "Worldwide trends show that stress and social isolation caused by Covid-19 could lead to more cases of family violence."
"There can be many reasons why victims do not specifically request for assistance or shelter, but to better protect them, the police will proactively refer victims at higher risk of further violence to social service agencies and also follow up by checking up on them to make sure they are alright," she said.
She also urged members of the community to look out for signs of family violence and report their suspicions so that the victims can receive help as soon as possible.
"The simple act of reporting can help save someone's life or prevent further suffering."
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