New law to offer counselling and therapy to tackle abuse of children in UAE

DUBAI // Counselling and therapy sessions will be offered by social workers to families needing help under the new Child Protection Law. If social workers recommend initiating dialogue, parents will be given the opportunity through the sessions to alter their behaviour to resolve complaints of excessive discipline. “No one will go and take the child […]

DUBAI // Counselling and therapy sessions will be offered by social workers to families needing help under the new Child Protection Law.

If social workers recommend initiating dialogue, parents will be given the opportunity through the sessions to alter their behaviour to resolve complaints of excessive discipline.

“No one will go and take the child and just fine the father. No, we will sit with the father, mother and child,” said Khaled Al Kamda, director general of the Community Development Authority (CDA).

“The father may be troubled, maybe he needs help or it’s previous discipline that he was used to as a child.

“We will ask him to see a clinical psychologist or go for anger management sessions, so we will work together.”

However, if the violence against a child continues or a doctor reports bruises on a child, then the parents will be held responsible and can face penalties or criminal prosecution under the new law.

“There is a balance that must be maintained between being responsible for your child’s discipline and being abusive to the point where the child is in danger,” said Mr Al Kamda.

“Such beating of a child in the name of discipline will be unacceptable.”

In cases of sexual abuse, government intervention will be immediate and a child can be taken to safety by child protection specialists.

Physical abuse was among the most common forms of abuse against children aged 12 and older. Sexual abuse of children aged 7 to 12 was most prevalent in cases that CDA workers handled in 2013.

“There are many laws in the UAE that are excellent in terms of legislation but some are not implemented well and then we miss out on the wisdom of the law. We must be aware of this,” said Jassim Al Hosni, the first judge of appeal in Dubai Courts.

“This is the most comprehensive law that defines a child as a human being and the child protection specialists’ work will be very important in taking care of children’s rights.”

Instant messaging or private Facebook messages could be used to register complaints along with traditional helplines and emails, said Ross Barfoot, a lawyer and co-founder of the Louis Smith Foundation.

“What will be crucial is making sure that the support systems are put in place and accessible by everybody, so people and children know there is a helpline.

“They need to know what they can do if they are in trouble, if they are being abused.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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