The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children’s “Protect My Childhood, It’s Precious” campaign sends a powerful message to the public. As The National reported yesterday, the eighth annual campaign, which is also the first since the Child Protection Law came into force last June, encourages all members of the community to come forward to report any case of suspected child abuse to authorities.
Awareness campaigns are an important component in introducing any law. By launching the #MakeItStop social media campaign and using powerful posters, the foundation is demonstrating to the public what constitutes abuse, whether it was verbal, physical, sexual, or an act of neglect. This will, hopefully, help tackle the common understanding that abuse is mainly sexual or comes in the form of severe physical harm.
Parents, teachers and those who deal with children may commit an act without being aware of how serious it is and how it can cause lifelong damage to a child. Calling a child names, for example, can leave a hidden scar and affect a child’s self-esteem even after they become an adult. On the other hand, neglecting a child, or being a passive caregiver, can also endanger a child’s life or strongly impact health and development. This is why they are both considered offences under the new law.
In a private society where domestic issues are seen as personal, it’s also important to use such campaigns to establish the idea that protecting children is a shared responsibility, that child abuse is not a private matter, and that everyone is legally obliged to work with authorities to ensure the safety of children.
Because it’s a very sensitive issue, it’s always believed that most cases are kept within the walls of the house. This is exactly the reason why authorities need everyone, especially educators and doctors, to participate in looking for signs of abuse. By offering legal protection and having a free hotline (on 800111), the process of reporting any suspected cases is easier and more convenient. This will hopefully encourage more people to break their silence.