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New protection policy in UAE boosts confidence of determined ones

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on January 1, 2020 | Last updated on January 1, 2020 at 09.43 pm
People of determination, abuse, cases, support, intellectual disabilities, Dubai, UAE,
The non-verbal determined ones are more prone to abuse as, at times, they may not know that they are being abused.

Mother of a special needs child Keerthana M Shenoy said many older kids with intellectual disabilities will benefit from the new policy.

People of determination, as well as their families and communities, were elated by the UAE Cabinet's adoption of a new policy that will protect them from abuse, as well as empower them in dealing with such cases.

Approved earlier this week, the 'People of Determination Protection from Abuse Policy' also aims to enable the determined ones to defend themselves by setting mechanisms that will swiftly identify instances of potential ill-treatment.

Shobhika Kalra, 28, said she felt relieved and happy.

 "I came to the UAE when I was four. It is precisely through such wise policies that this country is able to offer a very safe and comfortable environment for everyone, including people of determination," Kalra said.

"At times, people of determination are not able to voice what they are going through and this is where such policies become our strength and  boost our confidence to come out and demand our rights. The new policy will further support the UAE's journey to becoming the world's most disabled-friendly country by 2020."

Training, education

Mother of a special needs child Keerthana M Shenoy said many older kids with intellectual disabilities will benefit from the new policy.

"People of determination cannot go directly into jobs without a pre-vocational and on-site training. I am hoping that through this policy, some provision for such trainings will be made. The non-verbal determined ones are more prone to abuse as, at times, they may not know that they are being abused.

"We hope that this policy will help educate both people of determination and their families about the different kinds of abuse they are prone to and about their rights." 

The initiative will also expand the national cadre that specialises in identifying and responding to such abuse cases.

Moreover, it will provide appropriate restorative programmes for persons with disabilities who have been exposed to abuse and mitigating the impact of violence.

Richa Marwaha, co-founder of Merint Determination Centre, said: "This will bring some relief to people of determination and their families. At the same time, it will serve as a severe deterrent to abusers and eventually create a safer environment for determined ones."

'Much-needed initiative'

The policy categorises forms of abuse, ranging from depriving individuals of their fundamental rights; lack of access to medical care, recreation or community integration; as well as economic or financial abuse.

Safia Bari, founder and director of Special Needs Future Development Centre in Mankhool, said: "It is a great and much-needed initiative and we hope this becomes a form of campaign where the public as well as the people of determination can be taught by using animated figures or cartoon characters showing how to handle such kind of issues."

She added: "We do a lot of such sessions at our centre as we have mainly adults here and it is important to teach them to know their space.

"We teach people of determination how to deal with strangers and the distance they should maintain. At the same time, it is important to teach other members of their family as well as society, which I am glad the government will now do."

Overcoming trauma

Bari said they have had a number of cases of people who had gone through "shattering, traumatic" experiences.

 "A lot of counselling and educational talks go into making a determined one overcome such a trauma from abuse," she said. 

Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, said: "The issuance of the policy to protect people of determination is in line with the government's future directives to undertake a comprehensive development for all members of society and its different groups. "

"This is also in line with the national policy to empower people of determination with its six axes issued by the government."

This protection policy comes as research findings have shown that  adults and children with disabilities are at much higher risk of exposure to violence and abuse than their non-disabled peers.

The new policy

>'People of Determination Protection from Abuse Policy' seeks to empower and protect persons with disabilities by allowing them to participate effectively within a safe community environment

>It aims to protect 'the determined' from abuse, empowering them, their families and their co-workers to deal with such cases

>It will enable persons with disabilities to defend themselves and set mechanisms to identify instances of potential maltreatment

>It also aims to increase the national cadres specialised in identifying and responding to abuse cases by raising their proficiency in providing adequate care for individuals who have been exposed to maltreatment

>It seeks to provide appropriate restorative programmes for persons with disabilities who have been exposed to any form of abuse

>Forms of abuse include depriving individuals of their fundamental rights, lack of access to medical care, recreation or community integration, as well as economic or financial abuse

saman@khaleejtimes.com


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