child safety forum 2019 in sharjah-1637132863066
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Sharjah: The Child Safety Forum started in Sharjah today, bringing together senior UAE officials and global experts in a bid to bolster the protection of minors from abuse.

The one-day forum, organised by Child Safety Department (CSD), an affiliate of Supreme Council for Family Affairs in (SCFA) in Sharjah, is holding two sessions — one on the types of child abuse and the other on the methods to prevent them.

Held under the patronage SCFA chairperson Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, the second edition of the forum — themed ‘Keep their innocence’ — is taking place at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah.

Children more vulnerable to abuse

Ahead of Wednesday’s opening, Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, director of CSD, stressed that the safety of children, both online and offline, should be a top priority for child-centric organisations and social entities around the world.

With lifestyle changes leading to the blurring of lines between what is right and wrong, and indiscriminate use of social and other mediums of digital media, children are now becoming more vulnerable to abuse and manipulation than ever before, she said.

Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei

Al Yafei added that the leadership in the UAE along with its social institutions are dedicated to serving all members of the community, making it one of the safest societies in the world. She said protecting children against any potential risk is a priority for every Emirati citizen and resident.

UNICEF estimates that 12.7 per cent of the world’s children are sexually abused before reaching the age of 18. Globally, one in 20 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 – around 13 million — have been sexually abused at some point in their lives. “A society that embraces morality automatically protects their children’s innocence and rights,” Al Yafei said.

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Strong participation

The participants at CSF 2021 include, among others, 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.