Sharjah: Sharjah's Kanaf Center, an interdisciplinary child protection institution associated with the Department of Child Safety, has introduced an extensive 300-hour training program.
This initiative aims to elevate the skills and proficiency of psychologists, social workers, investigators, and representatives from the project's strategic collaborators in conducting interviews with children who have experienced abuse.
The training, which commenced in May and will continue throughout 2025, is being presented by Dr Bana Yousef Bou-Zubon, head of mental health at Kanaf. It consists of 20 in-person training workshops, covering various aspects.
These workshops include training on listening techniques for child victims of sexual abuse, skills in writing social, psychological, medical, and legal reports, as well as training in behavioural therapy for children and adolescents.
Kanaf’s training programme equips participants with listening and communication skills to deal with child victims of violence and sexual assault. It also trains them to use the latest methods and best practices globally in child protection, such as employing anatomical dolls in interviews with victims of child sexual abuse and using the Socratic questioning method during child forensic interviews.
Scope of training
The training programme also includes the provision of therapeutic services for children in the aftermath of trauma, following global best practices. Different intervention methods are applied based on the diagnosis of each child’s case, such as play therapy, psychodrama therapy, art therapy, behavioural therapy, and cognitive-behavioural therapy, with the involvement of parents.
The programme trains teams to standardise the process of writing social and legal reports. It also aims to ensure the swift progression of child interview procedures to obtain accurate information from the child and address the psychological and legal effects of the abuse within one framework.
This is achieved using the child journey developed in collaboration with project partners during the planning phase.
The training programme brings together Kanaf’s partners, including Sharjah Public Prosecution, Sharjah Federal Court of First Instance, Sharjah Police, Sharjah Social Services Department, the Forensic Medicine Department at the Ministry of Justice, Al Qassimi Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the Department of Family Development Centres, the Child Protection Unit at Emirates Schools Establishment, the Family Development Department, an affiliate of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, and Sharjah Private Education Authority.
Need for expertise
Hanadi Al Yafei, director of CSD and head of Kanaf’s Higher Committee, said: “Addressing child victims of assaults on their dignity and innocence demands a high level of expertise in health, psychology, mentality, and emotion. Our training project is a key step in unifying our team’s skills and enhancing our collaborative efforts, aligning with global best practices in child protection.
The programme incorporates the latest methodologies and tools for interviewing, diagnosing, treating, and monitoring child victims of physical and sexual abuse, ensuring utmost accuracy, speed, and confidentiality.”
She added: “It also provides practical steps to start receiving cases of children under one roof comprising all relevant parties to manage the cases and provide appropriate psychological support for the child and their family, alleviating the effects of trauma. We believe that every child deserves a dignified and safe life, and our role is to provide a supportive and motivating environment to facilitate their rehabilitation and integration into society.”