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Dubai: The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC), in collaboration with the Research Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences - University of Sharjah, has conducted a survey on the ‘Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Child Abuse and Parental Treatment Patterns in the UAE 2022’.

The survey has recommended the activation of electronic counselling for families, raising awareness of crisis hotlines, and highlighting the significance of parental cooperation in safeguarding children from abuse.

The recent study, conducted through an electronic questionnaire, surveyed 765 Emirati and expat parents, and 1,713 children. The study aimed to understand how the spread of COVID-19 led to an increase in child abuse factors and its correlation with parental treatment patterns in the UAE.

Using a descriptive approach, the study also aimed to investigate the impact of the pandemic on the psychological and mental health of children, as well as its correlation with parental treatment patterns, different types and forms of abuse, the level of parental agreement on parenting methods, and the family’s awareness of available hotlines for assistance and support during the pandemic.

Survey findings

The survey concluded that an authoritative parenting style and positive parenting dialogues were common patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic and the vast majority of parents agree and implement the same parenting style and upbringing. It revealed that 76 per cent of respondents were unaware of a hotline offering advice and assistance during the pandemic.

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Speaking of the study’s findings, Sheikha Al Mansouri, Acting Director-General of the Foundation, emphasised the importance of family relationships as a key determinant of a child’s future personality and psychological health.

The study’s results highlight the significance of parents using positive and normal educational methods, as it can help create conscious and aware generations that can effectively contribute to their families and society. Conversely, resorting to abuse and violence can have a profound impact on a child’s behaviour and personality, leading to various mental and physical disorders.