The ‘Safety Ambassadors’ Programme, which was launched by Dubai Police to support children and protect them against any harm or violence, has remarkably contributed to raising awareness on the importance of protecting children, a Dubai Police official said. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The Women and Children Protection Department at Dubai Police has successfully handled 103 cases of abuse against children who were deprived of their human rights either by their family members or outsiders.

Major General Dr Mohammad Abdullah Al Murr

Major General Dr Mohammad Abdullah Al Murr, Director of the General Department of Human Rights, stressed that Dubai Police has set a policy to regulate the roles of all departments and police stations in protecting children in Dubai, in keeping with Federal Law No 3 of 2016 concerning child rights, also known as Wadeema’s Law.

“All children must be provided with appropriate living standards, access to health services, education, equal opportunities in essential services and facilities without any kind of discrimination. The UAE law protects children against all forms of negligence, exploitation, physical and psychological abuses,” Major General Al Murr stressed.

He further confirmed that Dubai Police’s policy has been developed to set objectives and assign tasks to each entity throughout three main phases of children abuse cases: The Prevention Phase (prior to receiving report), the Protection Phase (during report), and the Support and Care Phase (post report).

Top cases

Major Dr Ali Muhammad Al Matroushi, Director of the Child and Women Protection at the General Department of Human Rights, said Dubai Police is keen to establish partnerships aimed at ensuring coherent and integrated workflow that serves children’s interest, preserve their rights and protect them against abusers and exploiters. He further explained that Dubai Police has launched several campaigns and programs year-round aimed at raising awareness about children rights.

Major Al Matroushi clarified that violating children’s education rights is the top concern among the cases. Assault is second and physical abuse comes third.

“Asides from our main role in protecting children, reporting violations, receiving reports and taking action accordingly, we believe it is our duty to prevent abuse against this vulnerable category of society and raise awareness on their rights,” Major Al Matroushi confirmed.

Age groups

Maitha Mohammed Al Balushi

Maitha Mohammed Al Balushi, Head of Child Protection Section at the Women and Children Protection Department, said that the cases, which were brought to the attention of Dubai Police last year, included 23 children who were physically abused, 20 were ill-treated, 17 were deprived of identity documents, 14 were deprived of their educational rights, nine were assaulted, nine were neglected, eight were abandoned and left unsupervised, and three were not given the medical attention they needed. She further explained that 54 of the cases involved children between the ages of 11 and 18, 39 were between 0-5 years and 13 were between 6 and 10.

Source of abuse and harm

The head of Child Protection Section also pointed out that children in 60 cases were abused or harmed by their fathers, 16 by their mothers, 14 by someone known to the victim, six by outsiders, four by the children themselves, and three at school. Al Balushi stressed that the section has handled all cases with extreme delicacy while prioritising children’s welfare.

Therefore, some of the cases were settled by committing concerned parties to legal pledges which slap repeat offenders with criminal charges.

“We handle and legally process cases on a case-by-case basis, depending on the particulars of each case. Some are settled by legal pledges, others are forwarded to either the Dubai Public Prosecution or the General Department of Criminal Investigation, and some are handed over to the concerned external entities,” Al Balushi explained.

She stressed that abuse, negligence and other violations against children are sometimes a result of dysfunctional families and separated parents.

Awareness efforts

Fatima Al Beloushi

Meanwhile, Fatima Al Beloushi, Head of the Awareness Section at the Women and Children’s Department of Dubai Police, said that Dubai Police has adopted the concept of prevention in its strategic objectives and policing work.

“The force is keen on enhancing its awareness-raising role on children rights, per “Wadeema” law, and ensuring that people who are directly involved in children’s welfare, such as parents and educational institutions, are enlightened and aware of the Law to preserve and protect children’s rights,” Al Beloushi explained.

She pointed out the ‘Safety Ambassadors’ Programme, which was launched by Dubai Police to support children and protect them against any harm or violence, has remarkably contributed to raising awareness on the importance of protecting children.

Raising security awareness

“The Programme has successfully trained 1,090 students from 109 public and private schools to become ‘Safety Ambassadors’ and raise security awareness among their peers, report incidents of bullying and abuse, educate fellow students about their rights and what to do if they are bullied or face violence, negligence or abuse,” Al Beloushi added.

Read more

“Through its initiative ‘My Home, My Safety’, the ‘Safety Ambassadors’ Programme also delivered awareness messages and published eight videos that are viewed by thousands of people. It also organised 35 virtual workshops for 3348 students of public and private schools, and translated ‘Wadeema’s Law’ and Safety Ambassadors works to sign language,” she added.

The head of the Awareness Section added that the programme engaged its safety ambassadors in raising public awareness by delivering 11 awareness lectures to 7,574 beneficiaries.