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12 per cent students exposed to abuse in schools: Study

Kelly Clarke/staff Reporter
Filed on November 21, 2014
12 per cent students exposed to abuse in schools: Study

The field survey conducted by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children found that male children are most vulnerable when it comes to abuse at home.

A study conducted on more than 4,000 students has revealed that a tenth of children in UAE schools are exposed to abuse or violence, while such exposure is less in homes. It also revealed that male children are more vulnerable when it comes to abuse.

The field survey conducted by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) on ‘Abuse against children in the UAE society’ found that male children are most vulnerable when it comes to abuse at home with 7.2 per cent of participants exposed to it, compared to 5.7 per cent of females.

Similarly, more male children suffer abuse at school (15.1 per cent) than female children (9.3 per cent).

The survey results were revealed at a Press conference held by the DFWAC on Wednesday.

Out of the 4,111 students surveyed from across the UAE, 123 out of every 1,000 in school are exposed to abuse or violence, compared to 65 out of 1,000 at home, however children in middle stage education are the most vulnerable to abuse.

Present on the day was Director-General of DFWAC, Afra Al Basti, Assistant Director-General for Corporate Support, Shaikha Al Mansouri, and Communication Director Maryam bin Theneya.

Speaking at the conference, Al Basti emphasised that this study is an important milestone in the fight against violence towards children.

She said a shortage of sufficient data and studies about violence within the UAE has long hampered the efforts of experts in this field, and said the study describes ways to deal with this phenomenon by highlighting all the points that require more work and focus in the coming period.

The results of the study were announced by Badriah Al Farsi, Programme and Research Director, and Aisha Al Midfa, Programme and Research Officer, alongside Dr Fakir Al Gharaibeh, Associate Professor at the University of Sharjah.

As a result the DFWAC has now presented the results of the study to benefit all the stakeholders in the field of care and protection of children in the UAE.

Al Basti said the foundation is willing to reach out to all those willing to cooperate with it to achieve the same goal and added that this was the first step in tackling the issue of child abuse both at home and at school.

She urged all members of the community to do their bit in putting a stop to the phenomenon of child abuse and noted that all cases should be communicated with DFWAC through the helpline 800 111.

Commenting on the nature of abuse, Al Farsi said the death of both parents is one reason that could lead to a child’s exposure to abuse. She said a child who lives with his mother only is more likely to be exposed to abuse at home, while the child who lives with the father only is the most vulnerable to abuse at school.

The study, which is the largest national study in terms of sample size discussing child abuse in the UAE, sampled 4,111 children of Emirati nationals and expatriates in the private schools in the UAE falling within the age group 10-18 years, and included 50.6 per cent males and 49.4 per cent females, studying in a total of 39 private schools.

It is hoped the study will allow the relevant authorities and organisations to come up with appropriate proposals to ensure protection of children and prevention of various types of abuse.

The study also highlights the efforts of the UAE in the face of this global phenomenon in the light of the UAE’s commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its quest to activate the same on the ground.

The results revealed on Wednesday could see the coming about of a national observatory for the application of child protection legislation here as well as follow-up to receive complaint.

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