New public prosecution body dedicated to children's cases launched in UAE

The federal family and child prosecution will specifically address the requirements of legal matters involving family matters and children

UAE Attorney General, Dr Hamad Al Shamsi, has introduced a new federal prosecution division dedicated to cases involving children and families. 
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A new public prosecution division dedicated to cases involving children and families has been set up.

The federal family and child prosecution aims to provide better protection for children by allocating a special section for their cases to speed up the legal process.

Authorities felt a specialised body was required to handle the unique challenges of prosecutions which are focused on family issues and young children.

“The decision to establish the family and child prosecution was made considering the specialisation required in dealing with cases involving families and children,” said a press statement issued by the office of the UAE Attorney General, Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, on Thursday.

The department will have its own building “away from other prosecution buildings where disputes and crime cases are heard.”

Its headquarters will also be equipped with video conference technologies to facilitate investigations from a distance when required.

“The family and child prosecution will be allocated to dealing with juvenile offences, and crimes that fall within a single family,” said the statement.

The strategy is in line with ongoing efforts in the country to bolster family laws.

In 2016, officials approved the Child Protection Law 3, popularly called Wadeema law.

Wadeema was an 8-year-old Emirati girl whose death shocked the nation when she was found buried in the Sharjah desert in 2012.

She had been tortured to death by her father, Hamad Al Shirawee and another suspect.

The law protects Emiratis and residents and lays out the legal rights of minors in the UAE. It is designed to protect children until the age 18 from all types of abuse, including physical, verbal and psychological abuse.

The law was further strengthened in December, 2018 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

The Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai issued a cabinet resolution that includes 23 clauses regulating the training and employment of minors, procedures for reporting offences against children, conditions for becoming a child welfare officer and obligations that must be met by families fostering children.

While the decision to establish such a prosecution service has now been issued on a federal level, a number of emirates have already established child prosecution offices in their individual judicial systems.

In Abu Dhabi, the family prosecution was established in 2009 to look at cases involving family disputes. It was later expanded to include a sub-prosecution allocated to child abuse cases and juvenile offences. The addition was made in 2016 following the child protection law.

Similarly, Dubai Courts has established their own prosecution specialised with investigated cases involving children.