Family, Matrimonial and Cohabitation
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IV. Protection for victims in domestic violence

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence not only covers physical violence, but also covers any act that is regarded as ‘molestation’. Therefore, the following acts can also be possibly treated as domestic violence:

  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Psychological abuse

If you are in doubt, please contact the police or any support services for consultation.

Who is eligible for protection?

Under the Domestic and Cohabitation Relationships Ordinance, the following categories of persons are within the scope of injunction orders, commencing on 1 January, 2010:

  • Spouse or former spouse;
  • Cohabitant or former cohabitant ((whether of the same sex or of the opposite sex) who live together as a couple in an intimate relationship);
  • Child of the victim or child who lives with the victim;
  • Victim’s step-father, step-mother, step-grandfather or step-grandmother;
  • Victim’s father-in-law or mother-in-law who is the natural parent, adoptive parent or step-parent of the victim’s spouse;
  • Victim’s grandfather-in-law or grandmother-in-law who is the natural grandparent, adoptive grandparent or step-grandparent of the victim’s spouse;
  • Victim’s son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter (whether natural or adoptive);
  • Victim’s step-son, step-daughter, step-grandson or step-granddaughter;
  • Victim’s son-in-law or daughter-in-law who is the spouse of the victim’s natural child, adoptive child or step-child;
  • Victim’s grandson-in-law or granddaughter-in-law who is the spouse of the victim’s natural grandchild, adoptive grandchild or step-grandchild;
  • Victim’s brother or sister (whether of full or half blood or by virtue of adoption);
  • The brother or sister (whether of full or half blood or by virtue of adoption) of the victim’s spouse;
  • The victim’s step-brother or step-sister;
  • The step-brother or step-sister of the victim’s spouse;
  • The victim’s uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or cousin (whether of full or half blood or by virtue of adoption);
  • The uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or cousin (whether of full or half blood or by virtue of adoption) of the victim’s spouse; or
  • The spouse of any brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, cousin.

What can I do immediately if my spouse assaults me and my children?

If you or your children are assaulted or threatened by your spouse/partner or person listed in the previous section, you should report the matter to the police. For any emergency, please contact 999.

The police officers who deal with the incidents are all professionally and specially trained in the domestic violence area. Therefore you should not worry about their knowledge and experience in dealing with your particular situation.

According to their code of conduct, you should be interviewed by an officer of the same gender, if available, and separately from the perpetrator to ensure privacy and safety. You will never be asked in the presence or hearing of the abuser if he/she wants to bring a criminal complaints against the abuser and whether he/she would be prepared to give evidence at court hearing.

Please be noted that if there is evidence of a crime, the perpetrator should be arrested, irrespective of your wishes. The arresting officer should explain the procedure and inform you of the arresting officer's number and the name of the Police Station to which the abuser will be taken. If there is insufficient evidence to support the report against the abuser, the situation and reasons should be explained to you.

You shall also be given by the officer some information about support services and hotlines for practical and emotional support.

If you do not have immediate danger from your perpetrator or you do not want him or her to be arrested, you may consider the following options:

a) Injunction Orders

1. What injunction orders are available?

Under the Domestic and Cohabitation Relationships Ordinance (Cap. 189), an application can be made by the eligible person to the District Court or the Court of First Instance, the court may grant an injunction which either:

    (1) restrains the offender from using violence against the applicant or a child living with the applicant; or
    (2) excludes the offender from the matrimonial/shared home or from a specified part of the matrimonial/shared home or from a specified area, regardless of ownership of the property.

Where a Power of Arrest has been attached to an injunction, a police officer may arrest, without warrant, if you are being abused and threatened again by the perpetrator.

2. How long do the injunction orders last?

The maximum length of an injunction order is 24 months. The order can be renewed once as the court sees appropriate.

3. Can I apply for injunction orders without informing the abuser?

The Court may make an order at first without the abuser being told about it. In other words you may apply to the Court without telling him/her what you are going to do. However, the written order must be served upon the perpetrator before it is of any effect. You must therefore take steps to ensure that you are in a place of safety until the order has been served.

4. How can I apply for the injunction orders?

The application forms for injunction orders can be obtained either from a solicitor, the Legal Aid Department, or the Family Court Registry.

    Family Court Registry

    Address: M2, Wanchai Law Courts, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Hong Kong
    Telephone: 2840 1218
    Fax: 2523 9170
    Website: http://www.judiciary.gov.hk/en/others/contactus.htm#FC
    E-mail: familycourt@judiciary.gov.hk
    Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon (Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays)

Due to the complexity of the procedures, you are recommended to find solicitors’ assistance if possible. For any possible financial assistance, the Legal Aid Department will be of help.

b) Harmony House

Harmony House provides a refuge (or shelter) for battered women. It is a safe retreat for women, with or without children, who are in immediate danger of violence. The main concern is the safety of and the support for the battered women, and to provide a temporary residential service to these women. Most of the residents stay for about 2 weeks, but in special cases, the period of stay may extend up to 3 months.

During their stay the refuge provides the residents with individual and group counselling and other related resources and services. The refuge also encourages mutual support and foster community spirit among the residents. Each resident had her own free time and privacy.

In order to provide the immediate service to battered women, the refuge has a 24 hours hot line service, battered women may contact the refuge directly by ringing 2522 0434.

Men facing domestic violence can also call the Harmony House (men's hotline) at 2295 1386.

For more details about Harmony House, you can also visit its website.

c) Support Services

There are governmental as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who offer practical (eg. medical, financial and housing advice) and emotional support for victims of domestic violence. Some organisations provide services to anyone, whilst some other will serve particular groups. You can refer to the following resource list for assistance: (as updated in June, 2011)

1) Organisations for all victims

2) Organisations for female victims (with or without children)

Target Group

Women with or without children who are in immediate danger of violence or having serious personal or family problems. Cases admitted to the refuge centres may stay at the refuge for two weeks but the period of stay may be extended to a maximum period of 3 months.

    b) Wai On Home for Women
    Telephone: 2793 0223

    c) Serene Court
    Telephone: 2787 6865

    d) Sunrise Court
    Telephone: 2890 8330

    e) Dawn Court
    Telephone: 2243 3210

3) Organisations for male victims

4) Oragnisations for lesbian victims

5) Organisations for gay victims

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