A panel discussion in progress during an earlier edition of Child Safety Forum in Sharjah. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The Child Safety Department (CSD), an affiliate of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah (SCFA), has announced the details of the upcoming second edition of the Child Safety Forum on November 17, under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SCFA.

Being held under the theme ‘Keep their innocence’ at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre, Sharjah, the forum will bring together eight local, federal and global experts to analyse malpractices that lead to the abuse of children’s innocence and identify joint responsibilities and mechanisms to ensure that their protection against such abuse and overall wellbeing are maximised.

Getting to the root of the problem

The first session, entitled ‘Types of abuse that affect children and the role of institutions in curbing them’, will identify the different types of online and offline abuse, share statistics, as well as highlight the issues that lead to abuse and the causes of sexual abuse. Moreover, mechanisms to protect children and the legal recourse available under UAE laws, including provisions and penalties, will be discussed.

Moderated by media personality Marwan Al Shehhi, the session participants will include Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; Al Amer Karama Al Ameri, Head of Public Prosecution, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department; Ahmed Al Mail, Director of the Social Services Department in Sharjah; Dr Walid Al Hammadi, Senior Prosecutor, Director of Prosecution at Sharjah Family Court; and Moza Salem Alshoomi, Counselling and wellbeing expert, Ministry of Education.

Strengthening protection mechanisms

The second session, ‘Methods to prevent child abuse — defining mechanisms and responsibilities of families and community’, will identify protection mechanisms, and analyse the role of family, society, and institutions in preventing child abuse. Officials and experts will highlight the need to educate parents and experts on the importance of reporting sexual abuse cases and discuss methods of addressing the psychological effects of sexual abuse and support mechanisms for children in such cases.

Moderated by media personality Yousef Al Hammadi, the session will host Faisal Al Shimmari, Founder and Chairman of Emirates Child Protection Association; Lt Col Abdulrahman Al Tamimi, Director of Child Protection Center at the Ministry of Interior; Iman Abdullah Hareb, Director of Social Protection Department, Ministry of Community Development; Ghanima Al-Bahri, Director of Care and Rehabilitation, Dubai Foundation for Women and Children; and via a recorded message from the United States, Chris Newlin, Executive Director of National Children’s Advocacy.

Creating a robust platform to protect children

The Child Safety Forum will focus on formulating a set of recommendations that will aid decision-makers, raise awareness of the community and define responsibilities to ensure the highest levels of protection to children from all kinds of abuses.

CSD aims to position the forum as an effective platform for local and federal experts and decision-makers in the field to discuss issues and challenges related to child safety at homes, schools, and public as well as online spaces.

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Forum sponsors

The second edition of the forum is being held in partnership with ten local, federal and global institutions, including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Community Development, Ministry of Education, Sharjah Public Prosecution Office,Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, Sharjah Police, Sharjah Social Services Department, the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, Emirates Child Protection Association and National Children’s Advocacy Center.