x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

UAE takes aim to eradicate abuse of special needs children

An awareness programme for families and police will be rolled out at five centres in April by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

ABU DHABI // A plan to protect children with special needs from physical and emotional abuse is being developed by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

An education programme, which also aims to alter negative views held by families and members of the community regarding disability, will be rolled out in mid-April according to Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister paper of The National.

"The families of children with disabilities will be involved in the project through workshops that will raise their awareness as to the forms of abuse their child might be subjected to, ways to prevent that and how best to handle it," said Mozza Al Wali, a psychologist at the Fujairah centre for special needs who co-developed the project.

Five government special needs centres will be roped in to host the workshops and educate the public about preventing abuse, how to report it, intervention and rehabilitation.

The scheme will also involve training for local police.

The project was unveiled on Tuesday during the first forum of psychologists and sociologists working with children with special needs in government centres.

"A special programme will be designed for each child who has been subjected to abuse to protect them from the side effects of that abuse on the one hand, and protect them from any further abuse on the other," Ms Al Wali said at the forum.

Families will be educated in early detection to help them intervene at an early stage if abuse is inflicted on their child, Ms Al Wali said.

Parents' mistreatment of their own disabled children, she said, is "one of the worst forms of abuse".