Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

Child safety campaign urges public to help protect youngsters from abuse

This year’s campaign carries special significance as it follows the Child Protection Law that came into effect last year.
An anti-abuse campaign poster from the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.
An anti-abuse campaign poster from the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

DUBAI // Everyone has a responsibility to report child abuse to the authorities, says the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

Since its inception 10 years ago, the foundation has handled 500 cases of physical, mental and sexual abuse of children.

It is launching its eighth annual “Protect My Childhood, It’s Precious” campaign – the first since the Child Protection Law took effect last June.

The campaign would highlight physical, verbal, neglect, health and sexual abuse of children, said Maryam bin Theneya, the foundation’s communications director.

She urged people to contact the free hotline on 800111 if they suspect that a child was being abused and needed help.

This year’s campaign would address the new law, often referred to as Wadeema’s Law after the eight-year-old Emirati girl who was tortured to death by her father and his girlfriend, said Fatma Al Falasi, a community awareness executive at the foundation.

“A law has always been needed in terms of child abuse and finally it is here,” she said, adding that it was crucial to battling child abuse.

The Child Protection Law covers physical and sexual abuse, habitual maltreatment, neglect, and exploitation by groups that teach fanaticism or hatred, or urge children to commit violence.

People are legally obliged to report cases of suspected abuse.

Ms Al Falasi said the law was the backbone of the foundation’s initiative.

“Hopefully, it will be the invisible seatbelt holding back parents from causing lifelong damage to their children,” she said.

The foundation will release videos in Arabic and English to educate parents about what constitutes abuse of their children, even if they are older than 18.

Its director general, Afra Al Basti, said the campaign also aimed to reflect the UAE’s image as a safe haven for children.

“It is important that the efforts of various entities and individuals come together to protect children from violence and to raise awareness of their rights,” she said.

“There is a serious impact on the future of children who are subjected to violence and are not rehabilitated.”

The campaign, held in conjunction with the International Month for Child Abuse Prevention, will include posters and other media at Enoc petrol stations, malls and cinemas, with the hashtag #MakeItStop on social media portals.

The foundation is holding lectures and educational events for children and adults at the Community Development Centre in Ajman until tomorrow, and at the Centre for Community Development in Fujairah from April 18 to 20.

The foundation is contactable on its hotline of 800111, or email help@dfwac.ae, send a text to 5111, or directly approach the organisation, which offers free shelter, legal and educational services, and medical care.

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae

Updated: April 10, 2017 04:00 AM

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