From May 2017, we proudly commence a new two-year project to provide specialised support to refugee children.
Through this project, we leverage our psychosocial and counselling expertise to holistically meet the needs of 170 refugee children (aged 2 to 18 years old) and their families. This service provides:
- Counselling to help children overcome their trauma
- Specialised child-specific legal and psychosocial support
- Training for practitioners to better understand and identify child trauma
- Training for parents to cope with trauma-based behaviours
Why focus on children?
Although Hong Kong has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Child (and does have obligations to protect the rights of children), refugee children are often invisible and fall through the gaps. As of March 2017, there are over 450 refugee children in Hong Kong; many were born here and are therefore stateless.
Just like adults, refugee children may also experience trauma, often through having witnessed first-hand the physical or sexual assault of a parent or through intergenerational trauma.
Studies show that many mental health concerns that carry through to adulthood have roots in childhood or adolescence. This means that a child can be severely impacted for the rest of their life if their trauma is left untreated. Children are also often misdiagnosed with conditions such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or oppositional defiant disorder because it is difficult for them to make their trauma understood. By helping them through the healing process, this project provides refugee children and their families with much needed support.