7 September 2019
Hong Kong • Vine Centre
The Justice Conference Asia is excited to announce a new initiative designed to add momentum to particular justice issues. Under the name JUSTICE FOCUS these events will tackle specific topics of current concern and produce action based outcomes intended to disrupt inertia. Sessions led by professionals will update us on current developments and issues needing to be addressed followed by an intensive time of focused group brainstorming to develop an action based outcome shared by the group.
This year, JUSTICE FOCUS will highlight three aspects of our society: vulnerable children, troubled youth, rejected offenders. Where there is a need for greater insight and action to bring about change and restore brokenness. It will draw together experienced practitioners enthusiastic volunteers to develop action based outcomes.
As Hong Kong society looks to the future there is a need to draw together and consider those at the margins whose needs might isolate them. While many of our children are struggling under a pressurised education system others are in basic need of homes and families. Some of our young people have the privilege of experiencing a university education while others have difficulty coping with the realities of life in Hong Kong. For those who have been imprisoned life after incarceration seems to be dogged by prejudice and lack of opportunity. What can we do to help change the balance and restore brokenness?
+ Vulnerable Children
Knowledge sharer: Alia Eyres
Social issue: Hong Kong is facing an extreme shortage of safe places for vulnerable children to live. Our residential care system is always full, with 4,000 children in care and hundreds more waiting. What was designed as a short-term solution has become increasingly permanent, with 40% of children aging out of the system at age 18 without a family to call their own.
Justice focus: In recent years, growing movements around the world have encouraged faith communities to expand their understanding of family and open their homes to children in need. This has made a significant impact on the number of children in care and radically changed the culture of family. Hong Kong has yet to embrace this approach on a large scale and needs the radical support of the church to champion this cause and provide the momentum to change the status quo.
Group task: Develop a strategy to change the culture among Hong Kong Christians and churches towards adoption and fostering in order to provide families for Hong Kong’s vulnerable children. Create a group to launch the strategy.
+ Troubled Youth
Knowledge sharer: Sky Siu
Social issue: Growing up in Hong Kong is tough. Our youth are under pressure from multiple sources such as school, friends, parents, church, social media, and the present political unrest, etc. and can react in unhealthy ways including drugs, gaming, drinking, pornography and mental instability.
Justice focus: While funding, awareness programs, resources and professional help are being urgently provided the uptake and impact on the scale of the problem so far has been small. Young people are reluctant to be seen as having "problems", suspicious of authority figures, and fearful of parental reactions. This has created a blockage to the uptake of resources. Youth respond best in peer-to-peer connections.
Group task: (for youth only): Brainstorm ideas to unblock the problem and give youth access to the help they need. Explore how to utilise peer-to-peer networks; buddy friendships; big brother relationships; confidential helplines? Devise a strategy for implementation.
+ Rejected Offenders
Knowledge sharer: Tobias Brandner
Social issue: The Hong Kong prison regime seems to focus on the retributive aspect of incarceration with harsh sentences, strict discipline, and making life drudgery for inmates, rather than trying to prepare offenders for life back in society.
Justice focus: While there are well-established mechanisms for re-introducing former offenders to work opportunities there is great shame involved for them and their families in the wider social setting. The harsh prison system reinforces this negative prejudice by emphasising their isolation and separation from society. They still carry the shame of their offence long after they have served their sentence.
- Develop a sustainable letter writing campaign to prisoners to support them (but who writes letters these days?)
- Produce a strategy map for mounting a Prison Reform Campaign and finding a high level influencer to create buy-in.
9:30am Programme Starts
11:00am Group Task (3 Streams)