The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs have jointly launched an initiative to curb child abuse in the UAE.
As part of the initiative a training programme will target teachers and 250 nursery supervisors across the UAE, which will be held at the Abu Dhabi Police Officers’ Club. It aims at raising awareness on child abuse identification mechanism and setting up a system to report any violence against children at nurseries.
Maj-Gen Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary-General of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, indicated that the ministry gives top priority to child protection. He asserted that it is a moral and social responsibility to activate the appropriate security, social and preventive measures to protect children against all kinds of abuse, given that children under the age of five cannot speak for themselves and report mistreatment, which calls for concerted efforts from all parties concerned with children rights protection.
Major Al Nuaimi called on nursery supervisors to play their part to the fullest, in terms of identifying and reporting any signs of abuse against children, to whom they are very close.
He also urged parents to protect their children from any kind of psychological and physical abuse. He underscored the importance of providing children with family care and emotional support, to produce a healthy society, free of social problems that could compromise its security and stability.
Maj-Gen Al Nuaimi also pointed out that the ‘Wadeema’s Law’ will provide the relevant entities with the authority to handle child abuse cases, thus reinforcing the Ministry of Interior’s role, which will include direct intervention in addition to protection and prevention. “Some individuals still ignore the basic components of a healthy family; not to mention the common misconceptions, that children are a means of entertainment,” he continued.
Lieutenant Colonel Faisal Mohammad Al Shammari, Director of the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Centre, praised the role of nursery supervisors in identifying the first signs of abuse.
He expressed bitter regret to see some conservative communities still covering up cases of sexual abuse against children. He added: “There are still untold abuse cases against children, despite the tireless calls from relevant authorities on the need to identify and report such crimes to avoid their recurrence and protect children, as is the case in developed countries, which made giant strides in this field.”
Jonathan McAuley, Strategic Advisor and Social Counselor, the Child Protection Center at the Ministry of Interior, noted that abuse is not only physical. It includes risks caused by reckless driving, parents’ negligence, sending children in elevators unaccompanied, and failure to secure balconies which may cause children to fall to their death, among other things. McAuley stressed the need to boost preventive measures and efforts to ensure child protection.
Moza Salem Al Shoomi, Director of the Child Department at the Ministry of Social Affairs and member of the Ministry of Interior’s Higher Committee for Child Protection, said: “This initiative is in keeping with the strategic partnership with the Ministry of Interior, and achieves the Ministry of Social Affairs’ goal to guarantee social rights and empower social integration.”