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Filipina seeks police help after being beaten by disabled adult ward

24 December 2023

One of the bruises allegedly caused by Nica's grown-up ward


For three months, Nica put up with the almost daily physical abuse inflicted on her by her 21-year-old male ward who is on the autism spectrum. She said she pitied him, and was scared that if she went to the police they would arrest him and separate him from his parents.

Nica, who is 28 years old, and a resident of Quezon City, was also worried about being sent home prematurely, allegedly because her Hong Kong employment agency told her she needed to go back to the Philippines even if she found another employer willing to sign her up.


But at one point the beating got so severe, with her fully grown ward who is strong and tall, sometimes banging his head against hers. Worse, he reportedly would run off on his own when they are outside the house, making Nica intensely worried that he would get into an accident, and she would be blamed for it.

The patient's parents reportedly knew that she was being physically abused by their son, but told her that he couldn’t help it. But if she wanted to terminate their contract, she needed to pay them a month’s salary in lieu of notice.


Despite her son being fully grown and strong, the employer, who works as a teacher, reportedly did not want to put him in a facility for the disabled, and insisted it was the domestic worker’s duty to look after him, including giving him a bath and feeding him.

His father, who is unemployed and stay-at-home parent, did not apparently approve of this set-up but did not interfere.


Things came to a head on Dec. 15 when she finally got tired of the constant beatings and decided to file a report at Tuen Mun Police Station, which was nearest her employer’s home. But according to Nica the police did not record her complaint as her employer repeatedly told the officer her son was disabled and could not be held to account for his action.

Nica decided to leave and went to Central on Dec 22, where she was found by fellow Filipinas who took pity on her after she showed them her bruises.


Nakaupo lang siya sa Central kanina, tapos kinausap kami, then nagkuwento na siya (at) pinakita niya sa amin ang mga pasa niya, dami ring video,” said Rose, who posted an appeal on Mica’s behalf on the Social Justice for Migrant Workers’ Facebook page.

(She was just sitting around in Central earlier today, then she started talking to us, she showed us her bruises; she also had lots of videos).


Buti na lang ang dami nyang ebidensya, sobrang kawawa, paika-ika pa ang lakad kasi sumasakit pa yung pasa niya sa likod.”

(Glad that she had lots of evidence because she was pitiful, she was limping because the bruises on her back were hurting her)


According to Rose, Nica’s ward pushed her, causing her to get crash against a lift handle. She also had a bruise on her leg, caused by a kick from her disabled ward.

Rose and her fellow concerned FDWs took Nica to the Wanchai police station where her statement was taken down, and then sent her for a medical check-up.

Pindutin para sa detalye

A number of Filipinos who saw Rose’s post or were told about Nica’s condition were told to immediately seek help from non-government organizations like the Mission for Migrant Workers or the Migrant Workers Office at the Philippine Consulate.

Under Hong Kong’s Labour Ordinance, an employee may terminate an employment contract without notice or payment in lieu -

“(a)if he reasonably fears physical danger by violence or disease such as was not contemplated by his contract of employment expressly or by necessary implication” or

 (b)if he is subjected to ill-treatment by the employer; or

 (c)on any other ground on which he would be entitled to terminate the contract without notice at common law”

In such cases of so-called constructive termination it is the employer who is often held to have terminated the contract and should thus pay a month’s salary in lieu of notice

Often, the Immigration Department also allows FDHs who have been subjected to physical or other forms of abuse in the house of the employer, to process a new work contract in Hong Kong.


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