Perfecting Divorce Support

We are committed to serving women with marriage problems, including setting up a women's helpline to provide prompt emotional support and counselling, offering free legal consultation service for women in need, and assorted counselling and support groups to bond together women with similar problems.

poverty single parent

Severe Poverty among Single Mothers

According to the "Hong Kong Poverty Report 2020", the number of impoverished single-parent households was 36,000 before the policy intervention, with a poverty rate as high as 49.2%. As a group with a higher risk of poverty, they have to face enormous financial pressure and care responsibilities on their own, as well as deal with the default of alimony and divorced family crises, making single mothers in poverty a particular concern.


Difficult to Collect Maintenance

According to Article 16 of the United Nations’ “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women”, states parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations, including ensuring that men and women have equal rights and responsibilities in marriage and its dissolution. The number of divorce decrees in Hong Kong has increased from 6,295 in 1991 to 16,020 in 2020. Referring to the Census and Statistics Department's “Thematic Household Survey Report No. 61” in 2016, more than 40% of households who enforce maintenance orders failed to collect the full amount of maintenance payments, and nearly 40% of them considered the legal proceedings too complicated and failed to contact their ex-spouse. Moreover, more women were humiliated and even treated violently in the process of collecting maintenance.


In 2015, there were up to 13,900 defaulted maintenance cases. However, there were only 844 hearings of judgment summons in 2015, and only 35 attachment of income order applications to recover maintenance in 2016-2018, which is less than 1% of the total number of defaulted maintenance cases. Recovery of maintenance requires creditors to take the initiative to recover and adduce evidence, and the cooperation of the debtor. However, with the cumbersome legal procedures and lack of timely and deterrent measures, even if a single mother applies for single parent CSSA to meet her needs, she will also have to face complicated procedures before she can complete the application or be referred to the Legal Aid Department. It causes great distress to both the women who are owed maintenance and their children; and takes a toll on both their mental and financial well-being.

our advocacy

Our Advocacy

  • Set up a Maintenance department to coordinate the functions of various units and collect case data, to more efficiently assist the party in need to recover maintenance, and prevent recipients from having to run between the court and the Social Welfare Department when they fail to receive maintenance and face financial difficulties, as well as to conduct public education to let payers and women know their responsibilities and rights
  • Set up an emergency assistance fund for families in crisis to meet legal, housing, or other financial expenses for non-CSSA and low-income persons who are in the process of divorce, maintenance recovery, or domestic violence victims
  • Improve the CSSA deduction system so that single-mother CSSA recipients who are defaulted on maintenance payments can be exempted from deductions by providing simple proof
  • Implement modernization of family courts and legal advice to tie in with the development of the "Hong Kong Legal Cloud" and digitization of public services, to help divorced women handle family problems and seek legal advice, and enhance the operational efficiency of family courts
our actions

Our Actions

  • Set up a "Divorce Support Advocacy Group" to work with women on divorce support and maintenance policy to increase public awareness by various advocacy activities and public education programs
  • Lobby the community, compile policy responses and position papers, including responses to proposed policies, policy research reports, public opinion surveys, CEDAW shadow reports, etc
  • Organize community events for public education and advocacy, such as Human Library, Policy Roundtable, Art Exhibition to raise public awareness on divorce-related issues

Related Press Releases / Statements

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Press Releases

Press Conference on the HKFWC's Women's Helpline 2024

The Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres ("HKFWC"), founded in 1981, is a non-partisan and non-religious women's organization committed to addressing the living conditions of grassroots women and promoting gender equality while advocating for women's rights. Since May 1981, HKFWC has...

policy address suggestion 2023

Suggestions to Policy Address 2023

Please refer to Chinese version


HKFWC's Response on Family Procedure Bill

Please refer to Chinese version

Press Releases

Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres and Zonta Club of Kowloon co-organised a Parallel Event at the NGO CSW67 Forum

The 67th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was held in New York from 6 to 17 March 2023. The CSW Forum is a platform for NGOs, civil society organizations, and various individuals concerned with gender equality, women's and girls' rights, and empowerment for...

Press Releases

International Women's Day 2023|30th Anniversary of Free Legal Advice Clinic cum Roundtable

We have always been concerned about the living conditions of grassroots women and are committed to promoting gender equality and fighting for women's rights. Since 1992, we have launched the "Free Legal Advice Clinic", the first service in Hong Kong specifically targeted women in marital issues and...

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Press Releases

HKFWC's Response to Budget 2023-24

The Budget was released on February 22, 2023, which is also the first Budget after Hong Kong got rid of the disturbance caused by the epidemic, is an important direction for the current-term Government on how to promote Hong Kong's recovery from the trough. We welcome the Government's earmarking of...

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Press Releases

HKFWC's Response to Policy Address 2022

Please refer to Chinese version

Press Releases

International Women's Day 2021: Divorce Situation under Pandemic

Since 1981 the Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres has focused on the rights and interests of women at the grassroots level and is concerned with protecting women's legal rights and their living conditions. With the pandemic lasting for more than a year, we noticed that the pandemic had a...


Submission to the 65th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres, founded in 1981, is a non-partisan and non-religious women's organization in Hong Kong. We concern about the situation of women, especially grassroots unpaid caregivers and single mothers, and aim at promoting gender equality in Hong Kong through services,...


Suggestions to Policy Address 2020

Please refer to Chinese version


Suggestions to Budget 2020/21

Please refer to Chinese version


Suggestions to Policy Address 2019

On 10 July 2019 the Chief Executive, Ms Carrie Lam has invited the members of the public to give their views regarding the 2020 Annual Policy Address. Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres (HKFWC) was founded in 1981. HKFWC has established the first-ever women support hotline in Hong Kong,...


Stalking - Protection vs Freedom

Please refer to Chinese version

Related Events & Programmes

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LAC Sharing Night

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The Colour of Divorcees' Lives|Art Exhibition of Divorcees

Thank you for your participation in our exhibition called "The Color of Divorcees' Lives" on the 1st and 2nd June at the Nido Asia Art Gallery in Sheung Wan. The event included the Human Library Hong Kong hosted by Mr Pong Yat Ming and the theatre workshop led by experienced applied drama...


Legal Seminar of Parental Responsibility Model

The concept of "parental responsibility" focuses on the sustainable responsibilities divorced parents have for raising their children, but there are not enough support policies and gender perspectives. Although we agree in principle, in light of the uniqueness and complexity of divorced families,...


Roundtable on the Maintenance

We conducted a survey on alimony from July to October 2016; 185 divorced women responded to the survey. The survey found that more than 60% of respondents found it difficult to collect alimony payments, generally due to the payments being in arrears. More than four-tenths of respondents (86%)...

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Roundtable on the Proposed Legislation on the Parental Responsbility Model

In November 2015, the Labour and Welfare Bureau held a public consultation on the proposed legislation with respect to custody and alimony and on proposals set out in the Law Reform Commission's Report on Child Custody and Access Report. The legislation sets out a joint parental responsibility...

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