UAE: Forum calls for panel to monitor, follow up on child abuse

Child Safety Forum releases a 10-point recommendation to protect children from sexual abuse, online and offline

By Wam

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Participants at a panel discussion of Child Safety Forum 2021 in Sharjah.
Participants at a panel discussion of Child Safety Forum 2021 in Sharjah.

Published: Fri 19 Nov 2021, 12:15 AM

Last updated: Fri 19 Nov 2021, 12:30 AM

The Child Safety Forum 2021 in Sharjah has called for consolidated efforts by local, regional and international entities to create a unified framework of action to raise awareness on child protection. The forum, organised by the Child Safety Department (CSD), also released a 10-point recommendation to protect children from sexual abuse, online and offline.

The set of recommendations include:

To establish a permanent national committee entrusted to follow up and monitor direct and indirect practices of abuse against children, both online and offline – be it physical, abusive digital content or games, etc., and warn the community of such dangers through official media outlets.

To create a national index to measure the achievement of target objectives that reinforce children’s safety and protection against all types and forms of abuse.

To offer training courses and workshops to enable parents as well as social and academic organisations to identify signs of direct and indirect sexual abuse.

To organise events and activities to raise children’s awareness of risks associated and enhance their communication skills to be able to address such issues with their parents.

To strengthen coordination between parents and social and educational entities and unite efforts to uphold children’s protection and ensure their healthy growth.

To coordinate with international authorities and overseas organisations, and harness best practices in monitoring, handling and reducing incidence of child abuse.

Organise a special edition of the Child Safety Forum to impart vital strategies to parents on protecting their children from any form of abuse.

Raise awareness of child safety legislations in the UAE and highlight penalties associated with it.

To recognise the long-term psychological impact on children who have experienced abuse, and prioritise appropriate treatment for them.

Focus on streamlining response related to child abuse cases with healthcare, psychological and criminal agencies, during the various stages of caring for children who have been abused.

Held under the theme, 'Keep their Innocence', at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC) yesterday (Wednesday), the day-long forum brought together more than 100 federal and Sharjah-based government officials as well as a host of child welfare experts.

Strengthening child protection mechanisms, The second panel session at the forum titled ‘Methods to prevent child abuse — defining mechanisms and responsibilities of families and community’, identified protection mechanisms and analysed the role of family, society and institutions in preventing child abuse. It also highlighted the need to educate parents and experts on the importance of reporting sexual abuse cases and discussed methods of addressing the psychological effects of sexual abuse and support mechanisms for children in such cases.

Speaking at the forum, Lt-Col. Abdulrahman Al Tamimi emphasised that a child’s protection and care is the responsibility of all members of the community, and that greater cooperation was essential to protect children from any form abuse. He said: "Awareness plays a major role in preventing abuse or violence against children. Consolidated efforts are essential to creating a unified framework of action, and so is launching awareness campaigns targeting the entire ecosystem of children, parents and the community."

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