31 child abuse victims reported in 6 months

The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) received 31 victims of child abuse in the first half of 2014, which included 11 sheltered (internal) cases and 20 external cases.

Afra Al Basti, Director General of the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, revealed that all the sheltered children in DFWAC during the same period were abused by their fathers, and they were referred by Dubai Police.

Al Basti added that the sheltered children ranged in age from six months to 10 years, and among them were nine females, and 100 per cent of them were subjected to neglect and deprivation, and 82 per cent to emotional and verbal abuse, and 73 per cent to physical abuse and 55 per cent to financial abuse, and 36 per cent were forced to watch domestic violence.

"The age of external cases of child abuse ranged from one year to 17 years, most of them males by 55 per cent and 45 per cent females, and eight cases of them were referred to DFWAC by their relatives, and four cases by the hospital, and four cases by child helpline and one case from each of Community Development Authority, school, the child by himself and a family friend," she added.

According to Al Basti, the father was responsible for the abuse in eight of the external cases, and the mother in seven cases, two were abused by relatives, two by classmates, and one case by each sister and a family friend and teacher.

She added that the external cases for victims of child abuse, exposed to different types of violence, as 60 per cent were exposed to neglect and deprivation, and 50 per cent to emotional abuse / verbal, and physical abuse 50 per cent, sexual abuse 15 per cent, and watching domestic violence, and financial abuse 10 per cent (two cases) each.

Al Basti explained that the number of child abuse cases received by DFWAC slightly increased during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year in which 29 cases were received.

"Parents might abuse children for many reasons but mostly because of their lack of awareness about raising children which leads them to abuse their children thinking that this is the best way to raise a child, in addition to the inability of the parents to control their anger towards the child's actions," she added.

Al Basti indicated that most parents rely on their personal experiences they gained from their parents, that may include violent behaviour, which requires rigorous efforts by all concerned bodies to educate this group sufficiently to avoid abuse.

Regarding how cases are transferred to DFWAC, she said that the foundation receives calls or reports related to child abuse in several ways, including personal contact from the child or of one of his relatives on the hotline 800 111 or by formally through the police and the prosecution.

"Dealing with reports of child abuse received by the foundation begins with sending all the details of any case to the care and rehabilitation department in DFWAC to identify and appoint a case director to follow up with case and determine type of abuse and which type of service is required, and then classifies the case as an internal which need shelter or external," Al Basti said.

She added that the procedures of dealing with each victim is different according to the nature of the problem, and the rehabilitation plan for each child is implemented according to his needs, and is evaluated periodically, including the client's objectives such as family and social support, psychological, legal, healthcare and housing support.

Al Basti said that care plans are reviewed periodically to ensure their feasibility and effectiveness, and after achieving the desired objectives, the case director starts to work with the case on processing a transition plan to prepare the child to integrate back into the community, and develop a plan out to ensure the safety of the child, as well as a plan to follow up the case which continues for six months after the child is out of the shelter.


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