Unified helpline for children sought

Unified helpline for children sought

Sharjah - This would help get unified statistics of various kinds of child abuse


Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Fri 20 May 2016, 5:52 PM

Most of the cases handled by child protection bodies in the county involve physical abuse and negligence.
Other cases that are reported involved human trafficking, and sexual and emotional abuse according to an official of a child protection body. He was speaking at a meeting for helplines for children during the annual forum of child protection organised by the Sharjah Social Service Department.
The official called for a unified helpline number that could be used in all the emirates.
Officials of child protection bodies agreed that any child or complainant can call from any emirate and the call would be forwarded to the bodies concerned.
They said that the unified number would also help in getting a unified statistics of various kinds of child abuse.
At the forum, the official of children protection bodies presented their achievements in protecting children from physical and emotional abuse, negligence and sexual harassment.
Addressing the gathering, Jassim Al Hamadi, director of the knowledge department at the Sharjah Social Service Department said without the collaborative efforts of child protection bodies, the children would have been exposed to various kinds of abuse and negligence.
Wadeema law which will come into effect on June 15 is expected to protect children from such abuse and negligence. It will also help child protection bodies classify the cases and address issues.
Ahmed Ibrahim, director of child protection at the social services department said a large number of calls were received through the child help line 800700 since the beginning of the year and as many as 162 cases were addressed mostly, physical abuse and negligence cases. Cases involving sexual harassment and violence that leads to physical harm would be referred to police authorities.
In 2015 the department handled 343 child abuse cases of which 126 involved the family, 97 reported by schools and 14 cases of homeless children.
He said the department also found a way to help hearing impaired children convey report the abuse.
The department also conducted several awareness campaigns among students to educate them about the helpline and how to report abuse.
An official from the child protection department at the Ministry of Interior said they received at their child protection hotline 116111 a total of 373 calls in the first quarter of 2016 including 45 serious cases which were handled by the child support experts.
Captain Mohammed Al Shehi, director of child and juvenile department at Abu Dhabi Police said most of the time the calls would be from children complaining about their fathers who wanted them to go back to their home countries, and other cases of unintentional negligence.
Points systems
The department goes by a points systems whereby, if a parent or guardian reaches more than 70 points of child abuse, he/she would be referred to court. In all cases, experts analyse the condition of the child, the atmosphere of the house and value the extend of negligence.
Attiyat Hussain, director of Dubai foundation for women and children care said they handled 96 cases including five human trafficking cases and 25 victims of violence who were provided shelters.
Fatima Al Zaabi, director of the Dubai child protection centre said they formed a hotline 800988 for children to report abuse and they received 1,678 calls in 2015 and 2016. The staff at the centre treated 145 cases, and most of them were of negligence and physical abuse.
But the only phenomenon they face in Ajman regarding children and juveniles are the practice of skipping academic day. Many students were caught in malls, parks and various areas wasting time during the school hours.
We visited schools and warned managements to take tough measures to curb the practice. We also conducted awareness campaigns among students about the negative consequences of such practices. Negligent students were also taken to the central jail so that they could listen to the stories of inmates. This, in turn would be a lesson for them, it was felt.

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