Sharjah: A 17-year-old girl was found out by her mother to be in a relationship with a boy, whom she had befriended over Instagram. An 18-year-old Arab girl tried to end her life as she did not like the treatment of her family. A case of a visually impaired boy who was exposed to violence from his father.
Traumatic cases like these are now deftly handled by the social support officers at Sharjah Police. No cases were referred to the court, a senior official said.
Colonel Mona Surour, Director of the Social Support Centre at Sharjah Police, told Gulf News in an exclusive interview that all cases were resolved amicably for both parties. She attributed this achievement to the efforts of the centre’s staff. Cases involved both Emiratis and expats, she said.
The department has 17 specialists, including psychological and social workers, who kept in touch with the parties involved in the dispute, until everything went on the right path.
The department handled 766 cases last year and recorded a 60 per cent decrease in family dispute cases compared with figures of the previous year. The disputes included marital issues and involved families and ex-spouses. Cases of domestic violence, both verbal and physical, were also recorded, along with psychological, school and health problems. teenager problems, child abuse and assaults.
* The suburban councils initiative (Hour of Hope) to serve and interview cases during the evening.
* The staff meet the disputing parties in the nearest suburb.
* Adding services for people of determination / displaying the centre’s services in Braille in order to provide protection for them
* Development and improvement of the Eastern Province office with the appointment of social workers
* The Centre participated in the Minister of Interior Award (Victim Care Award)
* Spreading community awareness through specialised courses and workshops
* Introducing new electronic services [via police website and smart app] to receive abuse case, family dispute and family counselling. The centre received 164 reports through this service from June till the end of 2020.
* Preparing two studies: One on psychological effects and social issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and another on the role of the support centre to face of the pandemic.
* Moving to the new Social Support Centre building
* Creating a competition under the name ‘Good Students’
* Winter initiative for a number of the centre’s cases and their children
* Providing 20 laptops to students who have financial problems and could not have one to enrol in distance learning
* Send 160 awareness messages to the families about their role in distance learning
“We provide social and psychological support for victims and deal with all cases confidentially,” Col. Surour said. She pointed out that victims of violent crimes, especially women, children and the elderly, receive priority support to prevent them from being abused or bullied any further.
Col. Surour said the department does not need to open any case to deal with domestic violence. It is dealt with amicably through individual and group meetings, developing a treatment plan, as well as using tests to diagnose the conditions.
The department has four sections — family disputes, school issues, psychological and social support section and welfare and shelter section. The department’s school liaison division monitors pupils who are susceptible to delinquencies and provides preventive care and treatment. “We rehabilitate released juveniles from detention centres in coordination with social services and charity organisations. We offer them financial, medical and psychological support,” Col. Surour said.
Disputes are often solved through advice and guidance, but in some cases the accused must pledge not to repeat the behaviour, such as arguments between spouses. “We deal with all cases confidentially,” she stressed.
Col. Surour said the centre has managed to lend a hand to solve various problems and find answers to different social and community cases, namely those involving household and school violence and family disputes. “The centre has succeeded in achieving a number of social and security-related benefits. Among them is the early detection of cases of delinquency and taking early preventive measures in coordination with the social control bodies,” she added.
* Add electronic service to police website and smart app titled student violence
The Social Support Centre employees have been working through COVID-19 pandemic, providing psychological and social support to 3,255 patients who were staying in quarantine. It prepared a programme for infected cases as well as contacted the persons. Awareness messages were sent to 390 persons and brochures stating safety and preventive measures distributed.
Col. Surour said she has a developed a sense of pride in being able to find appropriate solutions to all of the cases and solve them in peaceful ways, relying on the principle of tolerance and the importance of marital and family bonding and an enhancement of social responsibility.