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Nurturing Pillars of Society

Understanding and Working with the Young Generation in Hong Kong

Francis Wing-lin Lee

Publication Year: 2011

The younger generation — those under the age of 25 — accounts for more than a quarter of Hong Kong’s population. A much-misunderstood group, these people have special characteristics and needs, and some are particularly vulnerable. Substance abuse among young people is on the rise, and juveniles make up a third of total arrests every year. Extra effort and attention is required of policy-makers, educationalists and social workers to help this group make a positive contribution to society. This book seeks to promote understanding of Hong Kong’s young generation and offers strategies for working with them and their families towards healthy and productive development. Divided into three parts — youth in general, youth-at-risk, and young offenders — the book draws on international literature and empirical studies from within Hong Kong. Its focus is on action, always stressing the practical question of how to build a new model for working effectively with them. This book will be essential reading for seasoned professionals as well as undergraduate students in criminology, social policy, and social work, and postgraduates intending to practise in these areas.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

When we are young, we are told by adults that when we grow up we will be “pillars of society”. Young people will certainly grow into adults, but it is anybody’s guess whether they will become “pillars of society” or, at the other extreme, criminals. ...

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pp. ix-xiv

The above quotation gives an appropriate summary of our contradictory views of the younger generation today. On one hand, we see young people as troublesome, with numerous problems that they cannot manage; on the other hand, we admire their dreams and envy their luck in living in an era of open information. ...

Part I - Young People

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1 - Who Are ‘Young People’?

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pp. 3-10

The question posed in this chapter’s title seems to be an easy one. Age criterion is usually used to define young people. For example, in Hong Kong the social welfare community defines children and youth as those aged 6 to 24; the Youth Charter defines young people as those 15 to 24 or -5. ...

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2 - Understanding Young People: A System Perspective

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pp. 11-14

Normally, everyone is born into a family with both parents. Usually a person will stay in the family for about two to three years before entering the formal education system by way of a nursery. A child or young person (aged 2 to 22) then remains in the system for nearly 20 years before finishing college. ...

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3 - Local Studies of Young People

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pp. 15-28

In this chapter we consider the contemporary situations of and trends among young people in Hong Kong. Two studies are therefore introduced here. One is “Youth Trends in Hong Kong 2004-2006” (HKFYG, 2008); the other, in which I participated, is “Family Relationships of the Only Children” (Lee et al., 2006). ...

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4 - Models for Working with Young People

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pp. 29-44

The Deficit Model of youth work, which reflects negative perceptions of young people, is now out of favour in most Western countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States. But the model’s underlying values and one major assumption are still evident in youth work development in Hong Kong. ...

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5 - Working with Young People in Families, at School, and among Peers

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pp. 45-66

As mentioned in Chapter Three, the family is responsible for nurturing personalities, teaching rules, norms, and problem-solving skills, and fulfilling the need of intimacy prior to a young person’s entry into school (Noller and Callan, 1991; Lee, 2002b and Rose and Fatout, 2003). ...

Part II - Youth-at-Risk

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6 - Who Are “Youth-at-Risk”?

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pp. 69-76

Young people who abuse substances, belong to street gangs, drop out of school or may drop out, exhibit antisocial behaviour, and engage in causal sex are regarded as “youth-at-risk” (Dryfoos, 1990). This measurement is quite behavioural. It uses the display of socially unacceptable behaviour to define “at risk”. ...

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7 - Local Studies of “Youth-at-Risk”

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pp. 77-92

The creation of crime and delinquency as a societal reaction to certain types of behaviour and the resulting interaction between law enforcement agents and those subjected to their control and labeling processes have been substantially argued in what is known as the interactionist perspective ...

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8 - Working with “Youth-at-Risk”

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pp. 93-98

“Youth-at-risk” (or “marginal youth”, as they are called locally) usually refers to street gangs or Triad members. Scholars and practitioners have developed and proposed different approaches to effective work with these clients. The first section of this chapter introduces these approaches. ...

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9 - Working with “Youth-at-Risk”: The Way Ahead

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pp. 99-102

Different services have been implemented to assist youth-at-risk to regain a pro-social lifestyle (Lee, 2005, 2009 & n.d.a). Given that the causes of problems of youth-at-risk are multiple (Kornhauser, 1978; Regoli and Hewitt, 2000), multi-level interventions and cooperation are required. Conventional approaches are working with individual youths at risk, ...

Part III - Young Offenders

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10 - Youth Crime in Hong Kong

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pp. 105-122

There are several ordinances in Hong Kong that provide behavioural guidelines. And there are ordinances defining the status of various people. For example, Chapter 226 of the Ordinances, the Juvenile Offenders Ordinance, says that a person under 10 who commits a crime is assumed to have no intention (Mens Rea) ...

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11 - Handling of Youth Crime in Hong Kong

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pp. 123-136

Depending on the accepted theories and paradigms as to the causes of youth crime, justice systems vary from one society to another. A paradigm is a lens through which to view a problem and a framework for thinking about its solution (Zehr, 1997). Conventional paradigms of youth crime and its punishment, it has been argued, are one-dimensional. ...

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12 - Local Studies of Juvenile Delinquency and Justice

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pp. 137-142

In this chapter we will review three studies of juvenile delinquency and justice as we find these in Hong Kong. They are: (1) “Research on Social Causes of Juvenile Crime” (Vagg et al., 1995); (2) “Culturally Specific Causes of Delinquency: Implication for Juvenile Justice in Hong Kong” (Wong, 1999), ...

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13 - Juvenile Justice Issues (1): The Age of Criminal Responsibility and the “Family Conference”

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pp. 143-150

The following four chapters will address various specific juvenile justice issues. The first of these is the minimum age at which criminal responsibility is assigned in Hong Kong. In the Hong Kong legal system, both Mens Rea (criminal intent) and Actus Reus (the criminal act itself) must be proven to achieve a guilty finding. ...

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14 - Juvenile Justice Issues (2): Community-based Treatments (CBTs) for Young Offenders

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pp. 151-156

When we consider correction and punishment for offenders, imprisonment is the outcome we conventionally think of. Incarceration understood to have a deterrence effect. It can also sequester dangerous criminals for the safety of all. Imprisonment is what we usually call a custodial/non-community-based treatment. ...

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15 - Juvenile Justice Issues (3): Social Work with Young Offenders—Care or Control?

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pp. 157-160

The question of “Social Work with Young Offenders: Care or Control” is the third of the four juvenile justice issues this book takes up. We raise this issue because most treatments of young offenders are carried out by officers who are trained in social work or who claim to employ the social work approach. ...

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16 - Juvenile Justice Issues(4): Restorative Justice (RJ) for Young Offenders

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pp. 161-168

In the retributive model, we shall recall at the outset, offenders are punished for having wronged. Thus, they are sentenced either to imprisonment or capital punishment (Anderson, 1997; Hart, 1963). But with an increasing emphasis on human rights, retributive types of correction are now de-emphasised. ...

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17 - Some Final Remarks on Working with Young Offenders

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pp. 169-172

We have considered local youth crime and some locally contentious juvenile justice issues. By way of final remarks, I will underscore three topics: intermediate intervention, effective rehabilitation and supervision, and the way ahead for services for young offenders. ...


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pp. 173-196


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pp. 197-198

E-ISBN-13: 9789888053551
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888028801

Page Count: 212
Illustrations: 19 b/w tables and illus
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Youth with social disabilities -- China -- Hong Kong.
  • Youth -- China -- Hong Kong.
  • Social work with youth -- China -- Hong Kong.
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