Abuse hotline ‘used for criticism’

Staff at the 24-hour Sharjah Children Hotline work to resolve cases over the phone or report them to the relevant authorities to take action.

SHARJAH // A hotline set up to receive reports of abuse or ill treatment of children is being used by teachers to complain about rowdy pupils.

The Sharjah Children Hotline received 483 calls this year, with 44 concerning sexual abuse, said Ahmad Al Tartor, the hotline’s director.

Staff at the 24-hour call centre work to resolve cases over the phone or report them to the relevant authorities to take action. Pupils, teachers and administrators at schools across the emirate were using the service to report bullying, harassment and sometimes unruly behaviour.

“We received a lot of complaints from pupils, many of them reported physical and verbal abuse from other pupils. Some cases were of sexual harassment and bullying,” Mr Al Tartor said.

“Some cases we received were from teachers complaining about pupils who are rowdy and uncontrollable. They report the incident to us to look for help and determine why the child is acting this way.”

The Child Protection Department at Sharjah Social Services placed 52 complaints boxes in public and private schools for staff and students to be able to freely report cases of abuse against them or others.

The department is also responsible for taking care of abandoned children. Since its inception in 1984 it has handled 350 cases, often involving newborns, who are homed at the department and cared for until they are adopted.

Adoptive parents are screened to make sure they are capable of caring for a child and given training and guidance sessions.

Only Emirati families can take in a child and then only if they are able to provide a financially stable home environment. A police good-conduct report is also necessary.

The children protection hotline can be reached on 800700.


Published: December 27, 2016 04:00 AM