曙光行動邊緣社群支援計劃 (Care and Support Networking Team)
Why official record checking is needed?
Mr. Chen, 55 years old, committed two minor offences in 1992 and 2004. He was fined HK$500 each time but was not required to serve a prison sentence. He had no further offences in the next five years. In 2009 he secured a 6-month cleaning contract with the Department of Health but was laid off after only 41 days of work. Representatives of the Department of Health met him two weeks later and explained that he would not be hired by the Department in future due to his court appearances and record.
Mr. Chen has a question - Is it fair that record checking is needed for government outsourcing work and no appeal opportunity is allowed?
SoCO has been fighting for the rights and interests of minority groups, including ex-offenders (prisoners), the homeless and the mentally ill in rehabilitation. In Hong Kong, there are thousands of ex-offenders, and 5,000 mentally ill people currently living alone. Three recent surveys conducted by SoCO show that over 70% of ex-offenders have housing, employment, and other economic problems and the re-offending rate within three years of release is over 50%. Over 70% of ex-offenders have no support from their families and over 50% are facing employment discrimination. Since July 2009, SoCO has received sponsorship from the government to provide late night outbound services to those on the edge of re-offending. Since June 2005, we have liaised with the Correctional Services Department to provide services to prisoners in Tai Lam and Siu Lam prior to their release.
SoCO is also:
- concerned about the problems of the working poor
- providing assistance to those returning to Hong Kong and demanding improvement to social welfare policies
- annually organizing the "Hong Kong Homeless Soccer Team", which has support from dozens of other organisations, and has participated in the Homeless World Cup on behalf of Hong Kong in Scotland, South Africa, Denmark, Australia, Italy and other countries.
- Every year, SoCO contacts over 400 vulnerable people, to provide housing, employment and economic assistance to ex-offenders and the homeless. We have also assisted the mentally ill to apply for housing allocation and community support.
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