UAE - Health and education organisations will have to develop policies on reporting child abuse by next year, according to an official from the Community Development Authority (CDA).
Bushra Hussain Qayed, head of child protection/family development department at the authority, said the CDA is making it compulsory for any organisation dealing with children to develop policies to report child abuse.
"The Child Protection Policy will include guidelines on how to protect children and how to report child abuse cases to relevant authorities," she told Khaleej Times. "These policies are expected to be in place by 2019 and will be monitored by the CDA," she added.
Bushra was speaking at an awareness session organised by the Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA) on 'Reporting suspected child abuse cases'.
She said that hospitals such as Latifa and Mediclinic already had such policies to guide their professionals. "Such policies protect children and the professionals as well," said Bushra.
The policies will come under the Wadeema Law, the UAE's Child Protection Law No 3 that came into effect in 2016. All professionals are required under the law to report child abuse cases failing which they can be fined or prosecuted.
"Without policies we cannot move forward, especially in child abuse cases," said Anita Sunil, clinical psychologist from the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC). The foundation handles cases referred from other emirates as well as the police and public prosecution. The DHCA organised the session to raise awareness and educate different entities and healthcare professionals on how to best handle child abuse cases.
Dr Ramadan AlBlooshi, CEO, DHCA, said: "Healthcare professionals are one of the main groups who are at the forefront of identifying child abuse. Organising workshops to educate healthcare professionals on the child protection law and on how to report this abuse, in all of its forms, is crucial to ensure that our children are living a safe and protected life."
Residents can call the Ministry of Interior's (MOI) Child Protection at 116-111, and can also contact the police at 999 to report any suspected cases.
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