Press Releases

We will issue press releases and incident responses here in due time.
Media Inquiry: If you have any inquiries about our work, services, or issues that we concern, please feel free to contact us at 2153 3153 or email us at


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 the first organisation in Hong Kong to provide free legal advice to women on family law. The service aims to raise women's awareness of crisis management, to enable women who do not have the legal knowledge and resources to hire a lawyer to grasp the legal rights and interests of women in the process of divorce, to protect their legal rights and interests and to practice women's legal empowerment in the process of divorce. We have been practising women's legal empowerment for 30 years. On the 30th anniversary of the Free Legal Advice Clinic, we organised a 30th Anniversary of Free Legal Advice Clinic cum Roundtable at the Kerry Hotel in Hong Kong on 4 March 2023 to release the service statistics over the past ten years. We invited Ms. Barbara Anne Hung, lawyer, Mr. Tang Chung Wah, Senior Manager of the Specialized Co-parenting Support Centre and Prof. Hung Suet Lin, to give a speech and share their views on the "Parental Responsibility Model" with the audience. They gave a speech on the "Parental Responsibility Model" and discussed it with the participants.


The Free Legal Advice Clinic has served 2,463 women in the past ten years. We have commissioned Stefan KÜHNER, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University and Dr. SHANG Liang, Echo, Research Assistant Professor, to analyse the service data in the past ten years.


Cases shifted from grassroots to middle-class backgrounds

In the past ten years, the marital status of the cases using the Free Legal Consultation Service was dominated by married (40.5%) and divorced (37.7%) cases. Employment status changed, with most cases working full-time (40.2%) and being housewives (31%). However, between 2012-13 and 2021-22, the number of housewife cases decreased from 33.3% to 21.3%, while the number of full-time job cases increased from 34.1% to 52.9%, an increase of 55%. There is also a trend of change in place of birth, with Hong Kong-born cases rising significantly from 41.4% in 2012-13 to 59.9% in 2021-22, and Mainland-born cases dropping significantly from 56.2% in 2012-13 to 33.5%, a decline of 40%. There is a significant increase in cases with a monthly income of $15,000-19,999, from 8.6% in 2012-13 to 21.3% in 2021-22. There is a general decrease in the number of monthly income categories with a monthly income of $14,999 or below. At the same time, there is a general increase in the number of cases with a monthly income of $15,000 or above. Among them, the number of cases with a monthly income of $40,000 or above in the highest category has increased from 2.1% a decade ago to 14.2% in the same period. Among them, cases with a monthly income of $40,000 or above in the highest income category increased from 2.1% ten years ago to 14.8%. There is an upward trend in the educational attainment of help-seeking cases over the decade, with a significant drop in the number of cases with secondary school education and a significant increase in the number of cases with tertiary education or above, from 20.2% in 2012-13 to 43.2% in 2021-22. 


The analysis shows that the characteristics of cases using the Free Legal Advice Service have changed, with a downward trend in the proportion of housewives, Hong Kong-Mainland marriages and CSSA cases. The proportions of Hong Kong-born, full-time employed, higher-income and better-educated cases have increased in recent years.


Reasons for divorce

There is a change in the reasons for divorce in the cases. The main reason for divorce in 2012-13 was financial reasons (31.4% of cases without family), which decreased to 21.8% in 2021-22. The main reason for divorce in recent years was wife battering (28.2% and 25.1% of cases in 2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively). The number of divorces due to spouses having extramarital affairs in the Mainland has dropped significantly in recent years, from 19.4% in 2012-13 to 3.7%, representing a drop of 80.9%. On the contrary, the number of divorces due to spouses having extramarital affairs in Hong Kong has been on an upward trend, from 19.8% in 2012-13 to 23.5% in 2021-22. 


Analysis shows that the reasons for divorce have changed. Ten years ago, the main reasons for divorce were the spouse's failure to pay for household expenses and wife battering, whereas, in recent years, there has been an upward trend in divorce cases due to self-abuse and the spouse's extramarital affairs in Hong Kong. On the other hand, due to the impact of the epidemic and the closure of the border, the percentage of divorces due to spouses having extramarital affairs in the Mainland has dropped significantly in the past few years, from 10.5% in 2019-20 before the epidemic to 3.7% during the epidemic. On the other hand, the proportion of those having extramarital affairs in Hong Kong increased from 21.8% to 23.5%. In addition, the number of children impacted the reasons for divorce. The more children there were, the higher the chance that the reasons for divorce were spousal abuse, homelessness and indebtedness. Meanwhile, remarried, housewives, Hong Kong-born, and CSSA cases were less likely to be divorced due to non-payment of maintenance by the spouse.


The number of maintenance cases has remained stable over the past decade. Although the percentage of ex-husbands defaulting on alimony only ranges from 8% to 6.6% in recent years, according to the "Further Study on Divorce in Hong Kong" published by the Family Council in November 2022, 87.8% of divorcees failed to collect alimony, reflecting that the situation of maintenance arrears in Hong Kong and the rest of the world is still very serious. Comparing the data of the past two decades, the demand for alimony and child custody has been decreasing steadily, from a peak of nearly 70% of cases demanding child custody and 80% of cases demanding alimony in 2011-12 to 40% of cases demanding custody and 60% of cases demanding alimony in 2021-22. In addition, about four-thirds of the cases faced housing problems after divorce.  


Poor physical and mental health

The physical and mental health of the cases was also a cause for concern. In the past ten years, 63.3% of the cases felt tired, 59.4% suffered from insomnia, 60.9% had unpleasant thoughts, and 59.3% suffered from mental tension. Among them, the abused cases were more likely to have chest tightness/discomfort, nervousness and insomnia. Cases with housing problems were likelier to feel worthless and stuffy/uncomfortable. Cases with defaulted alimony were more likely to feel tired and worthless.


Based on the analysis of the above ten years' data, we have made four recommendations:

  • Integrating the functions of divorce and single-parent support to strengthen the support for single-parent women;
  • Setting up an emergency fund for families in crisis;
  • Setting up a specialised department for alimony;
  • Allocating more resources to the Family Court to expedite the handling of divorce cases.

Media Enquiry

Ms Si-si Liu

(852) 2153 3153

Ms Apple Tsoi

Service Supervisor
(852) 2386 6256