Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Second Report of Child Fatality Review Panel released (with photo)

The following is issued on behalf of the Child Fatality Review Panel:

     The Child Fatality Review Panel today (July 10) published its second report on the prevention of child death. The report contains 47 recommendations for the prevention of avoidable child fatality presented by the Review Panel after reviewing child death cases in 2010 and 2011 reported to the Coroner's Court.

     Speaking on the observations of the Review Panel at a briefing today, the ex-Chairman Professor Leung Nai-kong said that child fatality not only deprived children of their lives but also caused great loss, pain and sadness to their family. He added that he hoped the work of the Review Panel could help prevent such unfortunate loss.

     The review covered the deaths of 238 children aged below 18 who died of both natural (151) and non-natural (87) causes. The report revealed that most of the children who had died of non-natural causes lost their lives because of suicide (35), followed by accident (28) and assault (12). Among the 35 child/youth suicide cases, 27 children/youths jumped from height to their death. The youngest child who committed suicide was aged 10.

     The main reasons for children/youths committing suicide were found to be worrying about future and relationship problems with family or boyfriends/girlfriends. The Review Panel opined that early detection of suicidal signs combined with timely professional intervention might help to prevent child/youth suicide, since the majority of children who committed suicide had expressed their suicidal thoughts in one way or another before making actual attempts. The Review made 15 recommendations for the prevention of child/youth suicide.

     Of the 28 fatal child accident cases, 10 children died due to falling from height or from a bed/sofa, with the rest dying of drowning (six), traffic accidents (five), choking, fire and drug overdose. The Review Panel observed that many of the accident cases could have been avoided if the carers had provided better care and attention to the children.

     Three recommendations relating to home safety were made, including public education to raise care-givers' awareness of various home safety issues such as never leaving children unattended/alone at home, closely monitoring children to prevent them from falling from height and bed/sofa, and installing home safety devices and ensuring their proper use and security. For the prevention of traffic accidents, the Review Panel recommended that care-givers should be reminded to take extra care when accompanying pre-school children on the road.

     A total of 12 children lost their lives as a result of assault, of which six perpetrators were the parents. Six recommendations were made to prevent such tragedies including enhancing new/prospective parents' awareness of postpartum depression and encouraging them to seek help when such symptoms were noted in the mothers; and public education to encourage people to seek help when facing personal/family problems, especially those cases involving child care.

     The Review Panel also made six recommendations applicable to preventing child deaths of different causes. In addition to public education to encourage families to seek professional assistance and to raise care-givers' awareness of various home safety issues, the Panel proposed to enhance comprehensive sex and relationship education for secondary school students to raise awareness of the possible fatal consequences of concealing pregnancy. The Panel also reiterated the potentially fatal risk of co-sleeping with babies.

     Professor Leung said he appreciated the active participation and positive feedback of various government departments, organisations and service units which greatly assisted the Review Panel in understanding related service systems and delivery processes, identifying good practices and lessons learnt and coming up with recommended improvement measures. The review process, he said, had also encouraged and promoted cross-sectoral collaboration and multi-disciplinary co-operation to prevent the occurrence of avoidable child death.

     He also expressed his heartfelt thanks to all frontline workers, professionals and managerial personnel of service organisations, professional bodies and government departments who had helped and participated in the review.

     During the review, the Social Welfare Department (SWD), other relevant government departments and service organisations also contributed responses and sought to improve the services concerned. The responses from different parties were also included in the report.

     The Assistant Director (Family and Child Welfare) of the SWD, Mr Fung Man-chung, expressed his appreciation of the efforts of the Review Panel and acknowledged the value of the child fatality review in facilitating the improvement and enhancement of the current child protection and child welfare service systems.

     "The SWD accepts the recommendations of the Review Panel and will continue to enhance multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration in protecting our children," he said.

     He noted that the SWD attached great importance to suicide prevention and has since 2002 launched a series of territory-wide publicity and district-based programmes on strengthening families, preventing domestic violence and fostering positive thinking each year. In addition to family life education, which aims to enhance public resilience in adverse circumstances, he said that groups and programmes specifically seeking to inform parents on how to help their children build up resilience in the face of failure are also organised.

     In collaboration with primary and secondary schools, non-governmental organisations providing a suicide prevention service (e.g. the Samaritan Befrienders of Hong Kong and Suicide Prevention Services) also organise various educational activities for students to foster a positive attitude in managing distress and to encourage them to seek help, he added.

     To prevent child fatality due to assault, the SWD will continue to make use of various publicity efforts to encourage people to seek help when facing personal/family problems, especially those involving child care, and to promote proper child care and protection.

     Mr Fung said that the SWD will continue to work closely with relevant partners and stakeholders in providing a comprehensive network of welfare services to preserve and strengthen the family as a unit for developing a caring family relationship, so as to enable them to better prevent and cope with personal and family problems.

     The full content of the Review Panel's second report is now available on the SWD homepage ( for public viewing.

Ends/Friday, July 10, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:08


Print this page