Abu Dhabi has advanced its commitment to child safety and protection with the launch of the Child Protection Policy, a key component of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority’s broader Dama Al Aman programme, which aims to ensure the safety and protection of all children in Abu Dhabi.
In line with the principles of the UAE Child Rights Law (Wadeema Law), the policy underscores Abu Dhabi's commitment to family cohesion and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all children.
The policy aims to ensure that all children in the emirate live in a stable and safe environment by empowering them to exercise their right to protection and by establishing an evidence-based system that enables early detection of issues and rapid intervention for children and families. The policy will strengthen partnerships related to child protection through stakeholder coordination, ensuring the implementation of child protection mechanisms and measures within relevant entities, and requiring all entities that work with children to implement the policy.
Developed through extensive collaboration across various sectors, including social, education, health, law enforcement, and the judiciary, and endorsed by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the policy outlines a comprehensive set of measures to protect children, and emphasises the responsibility of professionals and the community in responding accordingly.
The policy adopts a holistic approach, recognising families as the optimal setting in which to raise children, and providing support to families and caregivers to enable them to create a secure, stable and nurturing environment. The policy is built on three guiding principles: the best interests of the child, equality and non-discrimination, and respecting the child’s right to privacy and confidentiality of information.
The policy focuses on six key themes: launching effective preventive programmes to raise awareness about child protection issues with the aim of promoting social behavioural change; creating unified and well-known reporting channels trusted by citizens and residents in the emirate; enhancing early detection capabilities and delivering comprehensive, well-coordinated, and high-quality care services; implementing a case management model that relies on effective coordination among relevant entities across various sectors; developing child protection policies and relevant research; and ensuring continued professional development and training to upskill and develop capabilities.
By promoting shared responsibility, the policy emphasises the involvement of the government, private sector, non-profit organisations, and the community in protecting children. It also outlines the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, ensuring a coordinated response to child protection concerns.
Sana Mohamed Suhail, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, said, “The policy was developed in close collaboration with various entities involved in the prevention, detection, and reporting of issues of abuse, and ensures confidentiality for anyone reporting suspicions or incidents through effective, safe and reliable reporting mechanisms, offering assurance that the welfare of children remains the paramount concern. The policy promotes social cohesion and family stability, and provides support to parents and caregivers in creating a positive, secure and nurturing environment.”
Dr. Bushra Almulla, Director-General of the Family Care Authority (FCA), added, “As an organisation dedicated to providing childcare services, the FCA is committed to supporting the objectives of the Dama Al Aman Child Protection Policy, and will use its specialised services to ensure the wellbeing and safety of children and families. In line with the goals of the Abu Dhabi Family Wellbeing Strategy, the FCA is collaborating with all relevant social sector entities to enable families and caregivers to secure a stable family environment for their children, and ensuring that all children in Abu Dhabi live in a safe, cohesive and nurturing community.”
Sarah Shuhail, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Centre for Sheltering and Humanitarian Care – Ewaa, commented, “The UAE and Abu Dhabi's dedication to establishing legislative, legal, and policy structures that guarantee a nurturing and secure environment for children involves various stakeholders represents a significant milestone in creating a safer and protected future for Abu Dhabi's children. It encompasses raising awareness, providing integrated services, promotes the responsibility of professionals and the community in responding to situations, as well as engaging in continuous education and research. The introduction of this policy further enhances the UAE and Abu Dhabi's reputation and efforts in upholding human rights and preserving human dignity.”