Dubai Police respond to 103 cases of child abuse in 2020

Fathers were the perpetrators in more than half of the cases

Depressed sad child sitting on the floor, in the door. The little boy is hiding his head between legs.
Powered by automated translation

Dubai Police responded to 103 cases of child abuse last year, including reports of assault and denying an education.

Thirty-nine of these incidents involved children under the age of 5.

In 60 reports, the father was responsible for the abuse, with 54 involving children aged between 11 and 18.

We want to ensure that people who are directly involved in children’s welfare, such as parents and educational institutions, are enlightened and aware of the law to protect children’s rights
Fatima Al Beloushi, from the Women and Children’s Department of Dubai Police

The Women and Children Protection Department at Dubai Police said 23 children were physically abused, 20 were ill-treated, 17 were deprived of identity documents and 14 were denied educational rights.

"All children must be provided with appropriate living standards, access to health services, education, equal opportunities in essential services and facilities without any kind of discrimination,” said Maj Gen Dr Mohammad Al Murr, director of the general department of human rights.

“The UAE law protects children against all forms of negligence, exploitation, physical and psychological abuses.”

During 2020, a further nine children were assaulted, nine neglected and eight were abandoned and left unsupervised, Dubai Police said.

Three more children were not given medical attention.

Of the abuse cases reported to police, children in 16 incidents were harmed by their mothers, 14 by someone they knew, six by outsiders, four by another child and three inside school.

Some of the cases were settled by committing abusers to a legal pledge as authorities state repeat incidents would result in further and more severe criminal charges.

"We handle and legally process cases on a case-by-case basis, depending on the particulars of each case,” said Maitha Al Balushi, head of child protection at the Women and Children Protection Department.

“Some are settled by legal pledges, others are forwarded to either the Dubai Public Prosecution or the General Department of Criminal Investigation.

“Some are also handed over to the concerned external entities.”

Police were given greater powers of arrest for offenders in 2016 under revamped child protection laws after an eight-year-old Emirati girl was tortured to death by her father and his girlfriend.

The first prosecution under Wadeema’s Law, named after the victim, came five months later when an unemployed father refused to grant his children official documents.

In November 2019, the Ministry of Education further bolstered services by launching a specialist Child Protection Unit.

It comprises trained experts who can intervene in cases involving children deemed at risk of abuse. They also offer support to families and provide education and rehabilitation.

A Safety Ambassadors’ Programme has since been launched by Dubai Police to support children and protect them against any harm or violence.

Officials said it had remarkably contributed to raising awareness on the importance of child protection.

The programme’s My Home, My Safety initiative has also delivered awareness messages and published eight short educational films.

There have also been 35 online workshops for 3,348 pupils of public and private schools, while Wadeema’s Law and wider work from safety ambassadors have been translated into sign language.

The head of the awareness section said the programme delivered 11 awareness lectures to 7,574 people.

"The force is keen on enhancing its awareness-raising role on children rights, as per Wadeema's Law,” said Fatima Al Beloushi, head of the awareness section at the Women and Children’s Department of Dubai Police.

“We want to ensure that people who are directly involved in children’s welfare, such as parents and educational institutions, are enlightened and aware of the law to preserve and protect children’s rights.”

Dubai Police help thwart international drug smuggling attempts

Updated: August 11, 2021, 8:03 AM