HKYWCA’s responses to LWB’s proposed legislation to reform laws on child custody and access
Labour and Welfare Bureau launched a public consultation to gauge the views of the public on the draft Children Proceedings (Parental Responsibility) Bill, in accordance to the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission in its Report on Child Custody and Access. As one of the women’s organisations having the longest history in Hong Kong, HKYWCA is concerned about the Report and the proposed Bill’s influences on women in marital adversity. Members of the Women Empower Group under Women Affairs Department of the Association attended various meetings to comprehend the Bill and to speak for the Group. The Women Empower Group collected opinions on the Report from its members. The Group agrees with the concept of the "parental responsibility model", yet, worries that the proposed legislative reform will do more harm than good if there is a lack of support services. The Group suggests implementing appropriate support measures, e.g. setting up one-stop divorce support, mediation centres for divorced families, centres for parents meeting children, an authority to settle disputes over maintenance payments, etc. Education on "parental responsibility model" is also important to introduce a paradigm shift in parenting concept. Only when the community is ready for such change, it is an appropriate time to pass the Bill. The Group attended several meetings organised by Labour and Welfare Bureau, Hong Kong Council of Social Service, Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres, the Gender Research Centre of CUHK, etc. Members also voiced out their opinions in the Legislative Council Panel on Welfare Services meeting. HKYWCA will continue to pay attention to the draft Bill, and discuss with our recipients, raising public’s awareness on the related matters. Founded in 1998, the Women Empower Group is a divorced women social network. It cares for the physical and mental health as well as the social networking of the divorcees. Members also follow legislative reforms concerning marriage, maintenance payments, housing, etc., and fight for better allocation of resources for women and their children.