Child protection policy to benefit Abu Dhabi students
Abu Dhabi - The policy has been disseminated to all public and private schools from the start of the 2016-2017 academic school year, and includes clear instructions on how different stakeholders and individuals can report abuse or neglect cases.
In response to UAE Federal Law No. 3 of 2016, or the Wadeema Law, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) has implemented a Child Protection Policy that will benefit all students under the age of 18 in both public and private schools in the emirate.
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Adec's unified Child Protection Policy has been designed to identify and support students who may have suffered any form of abuse or neglect, as per the UAE Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 on Child Rights, which has been benchmarked against international standards on child protection.
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The policy has been disseminated to all public and private schools from the start of the 2016-2017 academic school year, and includes clear instructions on how different stakeholders and individuals can report abuse or neglect cases. As defined by the policy, abuse refers to physical abuse, corporal punishment, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, as well as exploitation, neglect and incidents of bullying.
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Neglect, for example, is defined as a persistent failure to meet a student's basic physical, emotional or psychological needs, which may result in impairment to health or development, such as not providing adequate food, clothing and shelter, or providing healthcare, ensuring education and regular school attendance, and basic hygiene.
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"School principals, school staff, Adec employees and parents are all responsible of reporting suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. Protecting our children is the responsibility of the community at large. Anyone who suspects or witnesses any risk, harm or injury inflicted on a child, must immediately report it and without hesitation," said Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, Adec's Director General. "The policy provides clear guidance on ways to protect children while in the school's care, while travelling to and from school using school transport, and moving between, waiting for, and taking part in all activities organised by the school inside or outside the school campus."
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Major-General Dr Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary-General of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Child Protection at the Ministry of Interior, applauded Adec's launching of the new child protection policy, which he says will serve the interest of students. He also urged school administrators, staff, parents, and children themselves to strive to educate everyone on protective and preventive measures, and raise awareness among children of potential dangers, particularly on the internet.
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"Parents are our partners in the overall education reform process, and play a pivotal role in encouraging their children to learn, attain knowledge, stay focused and interested," advised Dr. Al Nuaimi.
What is abuse?
As defined by the policy, abuse refers to physical abuse, corporal punishment, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, as well as exploitation, neglect and incidents of bullying.
> School administrators, staff, parents, and children themselves should strive to educate everyone on protective and preventive measures, and raise awareness.
> The school principal, as per the policy, agrees to act as guardian of all students while they are under the school's care.
> School staff are obligated to inform the school principal immediately of any suspected neglect cases
> All school staff and Adec employees are authorised and mandated to report all cases of suspected abuse or neglect conducted by a perpetrator inside or outside a school, by directly contacting the Ministry of Interior - Child Protection Centre within 24 hours of becoming suspicious.
> Parents and legal guardians are expected to answer all enquiries related to a student's behaviour and academic performance
> All case reports and student data will be kept strictly confidential as per the policy.
> The data will only be shared with authorised individuals from the Adec division in charge of child protection and the Ministry of Interior - Child Protection Centre and Social Support Centre authorised staff.
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How to report child abuse/neglect
> It is mandated to report cases via telephone hotline (116111)
> An electronic reporting link is available on Adec's website: https://www.adec.ac.ae/ar/Pages/childabusereportingabu-dhabiedusector.aspx
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> If a child is in immediate danger (risk of serious harm), the police should be contacted directly using the 999 service.
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> This has to be followed by reporting to the Ministry of Interior - Child Protection Centre within one hour upon discovery.
> In addition, school staff must inform the school principal immediately.