In line with the Universal Children's Day
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Saturday, November 21st 2015 [ME NewsWire]
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Interior (MoI), represented by the Higher Committee for Child Protection, celebrated the Universal Children's Day yesterday Friday November 20, 2015. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) considers the Universal Children's Day an occasion to encourage fraternity and understanding between children all over the world, and to work together to promote the welfare of children.
Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Child Protection at the Ministry of Interior, and Chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), affirmed the UAE’s keenness to intensify its efforts to implement initiatives and projects to enhance child protection from every potential danger. “These initiatives and projects are in response to the directives of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and his commitment to the UAE to become a hub of child protection and security while elevating its status as a role model in the region,” he noted.
In a statement issued on the occasion of the Universal Children's Day, Major General Dr. Al Nuaimi said that the safety and security of children is a top priority for the higher leadership in the UAE. He added that the MoI is continuously working to enhance child protection efforts as per the best international practices adopted in developed countries, and in cooperation with other concerned entities and institutions under the umbrella of Higher Committee for Child Protection. He added: “The Higher Committee for Child Protection plays a key role in maintaining the safety of children, because achieving justice and protection for children is a shared responsibility.”
Major General Dr. Al Nuaimi asserted that the UAE community has become more aware of child protection issues, which is evident in the eagerness to communicate with the police to report cases of abuse or neglect incidents faced by children from their parents or care givers. He called upon community members to communicate with the police to report any suspected child abuse incident, because this constitutes a legal obligation. He also urged them to interact with awareness campaigns related to protection of children from abuse or neglect.
Children and the Internet
Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi said that the Internet has become an essential part of people’s lives. “While we recognize the significant benefits that internet can offer to children in terms of education and development; unfortunately there are risks, too; such as having access to inappropriate material or falling prey to online grooming by immoral adults and strangers. According to statistics, children across the world spend an average of 1.6 hours per day online; other specialized researches indicate that on average, 62% of children worldwide have had a negative online experience; and only 42% of parents know their their children had suffered any negative online experience.
Major General Dr. Al Nuaimi called upon parents to get acquainted with safety precautions and internet safe usage requirements, and learn how to report abuses that occur online. He noted that there are privacy settings and user’s age verification protocols that can be used in this regard, which also requires parents to be aware of the applications downloaded by their children on their device, and to ensure they are age-appropriate. They must warn their children against communicating and familiarizing with strangers. He also highlighted the importance of placing computers in places where they can be monitored by parents.
Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi mentioned that child online sexual abuse crimes are a growing problem worldwide, and that the UAE MoI is the main authority in charge of prevention, detection and investigation of child online sexual abuse and exploitation. He explained that the MoI has dedicated its efforts to address this issue, strived to exert every possible effort to reinforce capacities in this field, and encouraged all partners to exert further efforts in this regard.
Fight against child abuse and prosecution of offenders
Major General Dr. Al Nuaimi pointed out that, by joining the global alliance to combat child abuse, the Ministry of Interior aims to reinforce efforts to investigate cases of cyber child sexual abuse and exploitation, identify and prosecute offenders, identify victims and ensure that they receive the necessary assistance, support and protection. “Efforts to protect children online are ongoing; in order to monitor any online child abuse, track down immoral criminals, as set forth by the Federal Law No. (2) of 2006 on the fight against cyber crime. The ministry has also endeavored to raise awareness about the optimal use of the Internet among families and individuals and reinforced its control on this type of crime, in partnership with various entities. We will work in the future to implement further initiatives that help to increase child protection online and make their lives better,” he added.
Child Rights Law in the United Arab Emirates
Major General Dr. Al Nuaimi mentioned that the Ministry of Interior has taken part in drafting the Child Rights Law in the United Arab Emirates. “This law establishes the legal framework for the protection of children's rights in the country and paves the way for all those working in the field of child protection to implement initiatives in this area. It will also contribute significantly to consolidate the United Arab Emirates’ commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), ratified in January 1997,” he said.
The Ministry of Interior, represented by the Higher Committee for Child Protection and the MoI Child Protection Center, also carried out a series of awareness-raising and societal activities to create awareness about child protection, including but not limited to: organizing parents councils, forums to discuss with decision-makers, workshops for children, awareness programs for the community, participation in local and international exhibitions and conferences, ... etc. “These activities provide community members with the opportunity to join hands in order to prevent all forms of child abuse and neglect in the United Arab Emirates. We have managed through our outreach activities to reach more than 4,000 students and 10,000 community members,” he continued.
Furthermore, Major General Dr. Al Nuaimi noted that, through Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), efforts are underway to develop further strategic partnerships between member states; to follow-up on joint international operations to make the Internet a safer place; and to locate and help children at risk and hold offenders accountable. He also encouraged law enforcement partners around the world to share information about criminal activity related to online sexual exploitation of children, in an attempt to take advantage of all law enforcement resources and to provide safety and security for children everywhere.
Adding further, he said: “We recognize the importance of maintaining the safety of children while pursuing their studies. Effective education requires a safe environment, especially considering the prolonged period of time spent by children in schools, which requires us to provide them with the necessary care and protection from any kind of harm. Early intervention and prevention would allow schools to play an important role in ensuring the welfare and protection of children and preventing their abuse or neglect.”
Major General Dr. Al Nuaimi indicated that the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Center has developed a policy to protect children in schools, after consultation with a number of educational institutions across the UAE. This policy is currently in the process of adoption, in preparation for implementation as a part of the comprehensive school policies for dealing with all allegations and suspicions of child abuse or neglect.
Providing safety and security for children
For his part, Major Dr. Mohammed Khalifa Al Ali, Director of the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Center said: “The Center provides safety and security for all children living in the UAE and is in charge of developing policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards to address the issues and dangers faced by children. It also organizes, evaluates, and implements policies and procedures related to child protection, and reviews practices in cases of children’s deaths and injuries, child abuse or other issues that affect the safety and protection of children, in addition to statistical data collection and analysis in order to identify the risks that threaten the safety of children in the UAE, and raise the level of awareness in society within the 14 dimensions on the area of child protection”.
Major Dr. Al Ali also pointed out that the general legal guidelines require parents to take care of their children and double the efforts to protect them against risks they may be unaware of at their age. He said: “Marking the Universal Children’s Day is an opportunity to renew our promise to exert further efforts and to provide all means of protection for our children from any potential danger.” Furthermore, he noted that the CPC continues to implement several initiatives that contribute to achieving the aspirations of the police leadership and to provide the necessary enablers to protect children from risks.
“Through these initiatives, the Centre communicates and interacts with community members, most particularly the children, through a widespread presence in public locations, in order to spread awareness regarding the nature of the Centre’s work. By organizing various exhibitions and lectures, the Centre is also able to address the questions and inquiries of the public, raise awareness, and promote a culture of child protection by integrating security entities,” said Major Dr. Al Ali.
Moreover, he called upon parents to communicate with the center and report issues related to child protection by calling (00971 23333999) or via e-mail on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hotline: a safety net for your children
The toll-free (116111) hotline for receiving reports of child abuse cases is supervised by the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Center. It is the first communication channel for society to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect, in order to provide safety, security and protection for all children in the UAE. The MoI’s Child Protection Center has been entrusted with developing, implementing, and organizing initiatives and procedures aimed at providing safety and security for all children living in or visiting the U.A.E.
Who can call the hotline?
Given the fact that parents and caregivers are responsible for the safety and welfare of children and for protecting them from abuse and neglect, they usually contact the competent authority to report any suspected cases. However, it is a shared responsibility for all community members. Children themselves may also call the hotline, as well as parents, professionals, caregivers, or employees such as nurses, doctors, and police officers.
Who is a child?
The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 defines a 'child' as a person below the age of 18.
Why should I report?
Besides the legal duty, reporting your concerns about the safety of a child or his interests is an important step to prevent or stop child abuse from happening and to protect the child from further damage. Reporting suspected abuse is considered a request for investigation only.
What are the legal restrictions in the United Arab Emirates?
According to Article 274 of the Federal law no. 3 of 1987, one must report a suspected case of abuse against children when there is a logical reason which proves that the child has been abused or neglected or at risk of abuse. “Anyone who is aware of the offense and refrains from reporting it to the competent authorities (police) will be subjected to a penalty."
What should I do if I suspect that a child has been abused or neglected, or is at risk of being exploited?
It is the duty of each person to contact the hotline to report a case of child abuse, when they have a logical reason to suspect that the child, whether a resident or a visitor to the UAE, is being abused, neglected, or exploited. Employees in charge of receiving notifications about suspected child abuse cases will determine if the information received is consistent with the legal requirements pertaining to accepting the notification and initiating investigation into the case.
How do I report a suspected case of child abuse or neglect?
You can report by contacting the hotline established to receive child abuse notifications on 116111. You can also report online by visiting the following link: http://moi-cpc.gov.ae/EN/Report-Abuse.
When should I call?
Any person should contact the hotline to report a suspected child abuse case when they have a logical reason to suspect that the child is being abused, neglected, or exploited. Employees in charge of receiving notifications about child abuse cases are available 24/7, 365 days a year.
What should I expect when I contact the hotline to report child abuse?
People who call the hotline to report suspected child abuse cases should expect the following questions: social information about the child/children subjected to the reported case including the name, age, birth date (if possible), gender, and means to determine the notification’s details. The details may include but are not limited to, home address, parents’ address and phone numbers, details of the reported incidents. The general questions also asked by the hotline operators may include: what happened to the child victim? Who caused harm? What are the impacts on the victim?
What if I can’t answer all of the questions?
You don’t have to be able to answer all the questions. Should you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you have to report the information you know.
Should I give away my name?
Mandated reporters are required to give their name when they make a report. An investigator may need to ask you further questions or seek more clarification about some of the information you provided to the hotline operators. The reporters’ names remain confidential.
Will your call be recorded?
Yes, all incoming calls to the hotline for reporting child abuse cases shall be recorded.
Why are hotline calls recorded?
All incoming calls to the hotline for reporting child abuse cases shall be recorded.. These recordings are used to guarantee quality and to train hotline operators to receive child abuse notifications.
What happens after the hotline accepts the notification using the information you provided?
The hotline used to report child abuse cases sends a written notification including all allegations to the local investigation bureau, closer to the child victim’s location.
Who receives my notification?
All hotline operators receive a specialized training in child protection and risk evaluation, in addition to training on interviews and call center protocols.
What languages can be used for notification?
Hotline operators can receive your notification in both Arabic and English. If you wish to submit you’re a notification in another language, you may record your message to allow the hotline operator to seek the assistance of a translator.
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The Arabic-language text of this announcement is the official, authoritative version. Translations are provided as an accommodation only, and should be cross-referenced with the Arabic-language text, which is the only version of the text intended to have legal effect.
The UAE Minister of Interior's General Secretariat, Tactical Affairs and Security Media Department
Abu Dhabi Police GHQ - Security Media
Chris Cron +971-(0)-50-666-4891