“Why doesn’t she leave?”

This is a frequently asked question hearing women abused.

It is hard to depart from an important relationship especially long under the predominance of her partner such as hindering her from contacting relatives and friends, beating down her self-esteem, deepening her economic dependence, threatening to harm her or her family members and etc.


How can I help abused women?
Domestic violence is not a private issue. In Hong Kong, domestic violence can constitute a criminal offence according to the following legislation:

Crimes Ordinance (Chapter 200)
Applicable to sexual and related offences and offences causing mental effects.

Offences against the Person Ordinance (Chapter 212)
Applicable to offences related to homicide, wounding, assault, forcible taking or detention of person, inflicting grievous bodily harm and etc.


Everyone can help stop violence on women:

Review your perception on gender and understand how traditional division of labour exploits the social value and status of women and the difference of point of view and perspective of men and women so as to learn to respect each other.

(Po Leung Kuk Harmony Community Resources Centre holds free talks on “Gender equality” for local partners. Please contact their staff at 28990019 if interested.)

If you suspect your friends or neighbours are under domestic violence, you can:

  • Look for a safe environment, tell her about her current situation, such as her bruises, noises made while quarrelling etc. Encourage her to share her experience with you, show your care for and trust in her; and at the same time, deny her thoughts and behaviours of self-blame.
  • Advise her that domestic violence does not end naturally; in contrast, its frequency and severity would increase continuously. Tolerance not only fails to solve but worsens the problem.
  • Advise her that she and her children’s safety is your prime concern and you can accompany her to a neighboring Integrated Family Service Centres / Integrated Services Centres to seek help from social workers; or you can suggest she call the 24-hour hotline of Po Leung Kuk Refuge Centres for Women: 81001155 so that social workers can assess her situation and offer help as soon as possible.
  • If she has decided to leave the violent condition, remind her not to talk about her leave in front of her partner. Otherwise, not only will she be unable to leave but go under her partner’s revenge in violence. Safety of herself and her family members is the prime concern.
  • If she denies being under domestic violence, or chooses to stay or refuses to seek help, please do not criticize her but try to understand the restriction of her situation. Please respect her decision and keep in touch with her.
  • If you hear noises of heated arguments or collisions, you can call the security guard of the building or the police for help.


If you doubt whether to offer help to friends or neighbours in face of domestic violence, you may consider the following points:


Doubt: This is other families’ business in which I should not meddle.
Rational consideration: Domestic violence can cause serious injury or even death. It also constitutes a criminal offence and is absolutely not a private business. On the contrary, not helping may lead to serious consequences.
Doubt: I am afraid my poor handling will worsen the case.
Rational consideration: Condoning the persistence of domestic violence will instead worsen the case.
Doubt: If she is really in need, she should initiate a call for help.
Rational consideration: She might be shameful or self-abased to seek help from others. She also does not know how to express her difficulties to others.
Doubt: I am afraid the police will not accept the case.
Rational consideration: Receiving your report, the police has the responsibility to conduct investigation and make professional judgements.
Doubt: I am afraid of revenge.
Rational consideration: You need not confront the abusers. If threatened, you can report to the police.




Last revision date: April 2023