x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dubai police to teach pupils about abuse

Children in kindergarten and elementary schools are to be educated about sex abuse as part of a campaign by Dubai Police next month.

DUBAI // Children in nurseries and elementary schools are to be taught how to recognise and report sexual abuse.

Lectures will help them to recognise abusive behaviour in their relationships and those of their classmates, and to encourage them to speak out.

The campaign also targets parents, teaching them how to spot signs of abuse and how to be approachable so that children are encouraged to confide in them.

In addition to the lectures, adverts about the dangers of abuse will be shown on children’s television channels.

At nurseries, police visits themed Protect Myself will introduce children to a booklet depicting various abusive behaviours and outlining the actions they should take.

“Sex abuse is one of the most important issues to raise awareness on – the issue can have catastrophic results on the psychology of the child,” Maj Mohammed Al Muhairi, head of crime prevention at Dubai Police, told Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National.

Parents welcomed the campaign by Dubai Police, which launches next month.

“The issue of sex abuse is very difficult to bring up with children so by having such campaigns children are becoming more aware of things,” said Abir Mohammed, a mother of two girls.

Mrs Mohammed said such campaigns helped parents to know what sort of advice they should be giving their children.

“Out of fear for my daughters I feel obliged to bring up the subject but I do not know how. These campaigns show parents the best approach,” she said.

Hamsa Khaled, also a mother of two, said she was often unsure of how to broach the subject.

“I definitely want to tell my children of the danger out there but I also do not want to frighten them, so I am always unsure of the right approach. Initiatives like these help to answer my questions.”

Najwa Hassan, a mother of five, sounded a note of caution.

“These moves are good but they should be introduced as part of the children’s education rather than as random and periodic initiatives. This would be more beneficial in the long term.”

The campaign is the latest in a series of child protection efforts by the Government on a local and federal level.

This month the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs launched a training programme to teach nursery staff how to identify and report abuse of all kinds. The training is compulsory for all nurseries.

wissa@thenational.ae