Teachers to get mandatory training to spot the signs

Detailed instructions will help nursery and school staff understand the difference between bruises caused by repeated abuse and accidents, educators have said.

Early education specialist Roshi Tandon wants nursery staff training on child protection made mandatory. Anna Nielsen for The National
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DUBAI // Teachers will be on the front line in the crackdown on child abuse, with mandatory training recommended to help them to identify victims.

“Nursery and school staff spend many hours with children and can spot indications of abuse,” said Roshi Tandon, an early education specialist and director of Chubby Cheeks Nursery chain.

“Studies have shown the majority of abused children are below the age of five. They are unable to express themselves and are also unaware of what happens to them. But there are signs to spot and the role of nursery staff is important.

“They must be trained by professional social workers who can help them to identify and bring such cases forward.”

Schools can reach out to support centres with social workers and child protection specialists under the new Child Protection Law.

“We will keep information private and help people who come forward, especially children,” said Dana Marzouki, acting director of the child protection department of the Ministry of Interior. Social workers will spread information about the new law in schools and hospitals to broaden understanding of different forms of neglect.

Apart from fractures and wounds, teachers would also be on the look-out for children who displayed sudden changes in behaviour, shied away from looking at people directly, were withdrawn or aggressive, flinched at loud noises, were always on edge or overly eager to please.

Parents hoped the training would include cultural variances in child rearing.

“This is a good law but teachers must understand that different cultures deal differently with discipline,” said L P, a mother of four.

“A smack is very different from abuse, but I worry that I will be reported now if my child tells the teacher I smack her at home.

“A time-out is sometimes not enough,” she said.

“I hit my children when they get out of hand. That’s how we were disciplined when we were growing up.”