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1 Forum on Trans-disciplinary Perspective on Maintenance Date: 17th December 2008 Venue: Kennedy Town Community Complex Panel Presentation (3) The Way.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Forum on Trans-disciplinary Perspective on Maintenance Date: 17th December 2008 Venue: Kennedy Town Community Complex Panel Presentation (3) The Way."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Forum on Trans-disciplinary Perspective on Maintenance Date: 17th December 2008 Venue: Kennedy Town Community Complex Panel Presentation (3) The Way Forward – Future Direction for family policies and trans-disciplinary collaboration for child support and divorce families Panelist: Mrs. Patricia Chu, Associate Director, HKUFI Study on divorce in Hong Kong and Development of Divorce Education

2 2 Study on Trends on Family Attitude and Value (by Prof. N. Chow, Dr. T. Lum & Dr. E. Yan) A survey of 1,014 HK residents conducted in March focus groups of helping professionals conducted in Shamshuipo, Shaukeiwan and Tin Shui Wai

3 3 Changes in Marriage Median age at first marriage Male Female Median Age at First Marriage

4 4 Changes in Marriage Number steadily decreased from 50,756 in 1981 to 32,825 in 2001 and came back to 50,328 in 2006 First marriage of both parties decreased from 41,190 in 1981 to 33,352 in 2006 Remarriage of either party increased, especially since 2001 One party from Mainland now consists more than 40% Divorce decrees increased from 2,060 on 1981 to 17,424 in 2006

5 5 Attitude towards Marriage Strongly disagreeDisagreeDependsAgree Strongly agree No.(%) Marriage is a necessary step in life (1.3)(13)(15.7)(58.4)(11.2) Child bearing is important in marriage (1.1)(15.8)(16.5)(55.6)(10.7) Marriage: Having a life long partner (0.4)(7.2)(6.8)(64.1)(20.9) Very few good marriages (1.7)(24.4)(20.8)(44.9)(6.4) Unmarried people face more social pressure (1.9)(45.9)(14.4)(33.3)(2.8) Married people are happier than unmarried people (1)(28.7)(30)(35.5)(3.5) 1993: Married people are happier than unmarried people (Lee, 1995) (38.9)(25.9)(26.7) 2008: Married people are happier than unmarried people (29.7)(30)(39)

6 6 Attitude towards Marriage Marriage and child bearing are still preferred Still want to have a life-long partner and happy marriage Negative towards unmarried persons Middle age and older persons reported higher acceptance of divorce More agreed divorce affects woman more than man Female were more likely to accept divorce as a solution to irresolvable martial problems People with more education were less likely to accept divorce More were willing to marry a divorced person, even with children

7 7 Weakened family solidarity Number of single parents (persons who are widowed, divorced or separated, and living with child(ren) aged under 18 in same household) Demographic, Social & Economic Changes Source: Census & Statistics Department

8 8 Demographic, Social & Economic Changes Number of Divorces Source: Judiciary

9 9 Aggravated social problems Spouse Battering Source: Social Welfare Department

10 10 Percentage Distribution of CSSA Cases by Case Nature (December 1998 and September 2008) December 1998September 2008 Total number of CSSA cases : Total number of CSSA cases :

11 11 Breakup of intimate relationships One of the most common psychological and social stressors in adult life 5-10% of divorcees still having prolonged difficulties with resolution (remain bitter, hostile, entrenched in conflict for many years) 25-30% of couples engage in serious conflict even 3-5 years following divorce Family violence occurs in about 50% of divorcing families involving children

12 12 Need for Divorce Education Ensure a better adjustment in the breakup of marriage Divorce education as mandatory and part of judicial system in many western countries Development of divorce education associated with law reform with focus on need of the child

13 13 (continued) Shift of focus from parental rights to parental responsibilities Minimization of negative impact on couple and children Maintaining meaningful relationship between parents, grandparents and other members of extended family

14 14 Current situation of Divorce in Hong Kong Very little empirical data about the effects of divorce on children in Hong Kong Almost no information on general profile of divorced families

15 15 Proposed study on divorce in Hong Kong Need to establish actual current profile of divorce cases including Characteristics of families Issues they have to deal with Demographics and social / economic background How family navigates through the system in divorce Impacts of parental conflict on children

16 16 (continued) Need to understand actual attribution of parental conflict on children (through video-taped clinical data) to capture the themes, patterns of conflict between couples, and child’s response to parental conflict in Hong Kong families Provide the basis for development of a culturally relevant divorce education package in Hong Kong and to inform policy making in the related systems

17 17 (continued) Raise awareness of various disciplines / stakeholders Policy makers Family court judges / family lawyers Social workers Psychologists Medical (Psychiatrists, Family physicians, Paediatricians) Mediators School personnel etc. on the current situation and leading to concerted efforts Adopting a more rational and evidence-based approach in addressing problem of divorce

18 18 Divorce and Family Policy According to Prof. S. Kamerman, Columbia University, Family policy is what government does to and for children and their families. concern for all children and their families.

19 19 Characteristics of Family Policy A view of the family as a central institution in a society A definition of family that allows for a variety of types, usually at least one adult and one child A definition of policy that assumes a diversity and multiplicity of policies rather than a single monolithic comprehensive legislative act.

20 20 Observations on Hong Kong Biggest gap is a holistic picture of the situation of children and policies designed to respond to their needs and problems A holistic approach to developing a coherent policy agenda remains to be developed in Hong Kong An explicit family policy may not be the answer but making conditions and their families more visible and assessing the policies affecting them would help.

21 Thank you


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