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If your ward harms you, go seek help, FDWs told

15 June 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap 

May shows a wound allegedly inflicted by her 8-year-old ward last year

While the law in Hong Kong has been tightened to protect young children from abuse, it appears to be silent on how a carer, particulary a foreign domestic helper, can seek redress if it is she who gets harmed by a young kid in her care.

This was the experience shared by May E. recently, after she was terminated and given one month’s notice by her employer last May 19, after she allegedly tried to film her eight-year-old ward in the act of trying to stab her with a fork.

Muntik na akong saksakin ng tinidor kaya tumayo ako at kumuha ng phone ko. Kinuhanan ko ng video ang bata kaya nagalit ang ama. Binigyan ako ng one month notice at sa awa ng Diyos meron na akong (bagong) amo,” said May in a message.


(The boy almost stabbed me with a fork so I stood up and took my phone. I filmed the boy (in the act) which angered his father. I was given a month’s notice but with God’s grace I have managed to secure a new employer).

Due to the advice of the employment agency which helped her find a new employer, May did not pursue a case initially and even agreed to her employer paying her only back wages after her notice period ends.

In turn, the employer promised to send a favorable endorsement of her application for new employment to the Immigration Department.

May she initially sought help from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration but was told that it would be difficult to prove her claim of unjust termination as she had no evidence.

But after seeking advice from the Mission for Migrant Workers, May decided to take further action and initially sent a report about her termination to the Immigration Department.

The child allegedly scratched May's arm with his fingernails

May had been with the family for three years and seven months and would not have thought of leaving if her employer did not use the incident to terminate their contract.

According to the Filipina, the boy had been inflicting harm on her since she started working for the family in 2018 and he was just four years old. The boy’s parents knew but did not do anything about it, she said.

“He would bite my arms, punch me on the back, or use an umbrella to hit me on the head, causing me blurred vision,” she said in her letter.


May she told her agency about the attacks but was told to be patient as there was nothing that could be done as the boy was a minor with no criminal liability.

Tiniis ko lang dahil bata,” she told The SUN. (I put up with it because he was just a kid).

But she finally decided to do something about the assaults on March 28 last year, after the boy allegedly bit her left arm and scratched it with his fingernails, then tried to poke her eyes with his chopsticks.

She went to see a doctor who in turn gave her a medical certificate with the diagnosis written as: “left upper limb biting and hitting injury.”

At her female employer’s request, May said she decided to take no further action.

But after being fired, she felt she was the one wronged, so she decided to ask for help and advice.

Bite marks that a doctor attested to in a medical certificate 

When asked about her situation, Cynthia Tellez, general manager of the Mission for Migrant Workers, said the employer was the one at fault as he failed to ensure May’s safety.

Her recommendations were that (1) May should report the incident to the police, even if the alleged offender cannot be held criminally liable because he is a minor; (2) She can file a claim for compensation with help from Legal Aid, especially since she has evidence from the previous case and the employer still did not do anything to stop the child; (3) demand a month’s salary in lieu of notice apart from payments due her under the contract, as well as (4) severance pay since the employer has already indicated he will no longer hire a replacement.

Finally, Tellez said May should immediately report the incident to Immigration so it would be put on notice on the incidents that led to her termination.

Acting on the advice, May said in a letter she drafted that boy’s mother witnessed the incident but did nothing to stop the attack.

Bruise mark left  after the ward allegedly hit May  

“I was so scared, his mother only watching him…I got my phone to take a video and said, ‘Maam, I will take this video for evidence and I will call the police, and Ma’am said to me, please calm down, so I didn’t call the police.”

That same evening, his male employer was told about the incident and instead of appeasing May, he shouted at her and gave her a month’s notice of termination.

May was told she could not film the incident as it involved a minor, but she knows better now. She was the one who was wronged, and she should take action accordingly.

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