SVA Support Independent Committee on Child Abuse Investigation
Independent Review Committee Report Submitted to SWD
HKSPC Accepts IRC Recommendations to Drive Reform
Since the first incident of alleged child abuse at the Children’s Residential Home (CRH) of the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children (HKSPC) in mid-December, the Society immediately began an internal review of activity within CRH resulting in further reports to the SWD and the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) on 28 December as outlined in our previous statement.
HKPF have taken over review of the CCTV footage we have provided to them, and as reported, a number of arrests have been made, with those children involved sent to hospital. The Society is mortified.
To find out how and why these failings happened, on 3 January 2022 Executive Committee (Exco) invited Mr. Lester Garson HUANG, Managing Partner and Co-Chairman of P. C. Woo & Co., to chair an Independent Review Committee (IRC) with five other reputable experts, with support from Deloitte and Steve Vickers Associates (SVA). The IRC was asked, as Phase 1 of a broader review, to identify shortcomings in our CRH operations, and to recommend whatever actions it deemed appropriate that the Society should make to ensure the health and safety of the children in our care.
The IRC has worked extremely hard and very quickly to provide the First Interim Report (FIR) to Exco. We accept the IRC’s findings in full, and have submitted the report to the Social Welfare Department (SWD) yesterday. The Society wishes to thank Mr. HUANG and all IRC members for their efforts in this difficult job.
The IRC has conducted site visits, CCTV footage review, interviews with former staff and staff in various roles as well as the Society’s Chairman and Director, and a review of our processes has been undertaken by Deloitte.
The IRC report highlights the devastating fact that an apparent excessive focus on the physical safety of the children under our care, coupled with exceptionally high staff turnover among our child care workers (CCWs), poor supervision and management have in combination led to a deterioration in the culture and work practices amongst our CCWs. This is obviously unacceptable.