Article 27| August 2016 : UAE Law Grants Child Rights Officer Power to Take Child Away From Abusive Home

UAE Law Grants Child Rights Officer Power to Take Child Away From Abusive Home

by Al Mubasheri  |  August 2016

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Child protection specialists have been given the authority to enter a home and remove a person under 18 years of age who is being abused or neglected. Any person who hinders a specialist in their work can be fined up to Dh50,000, according to Article 61 of Wadeema’s Law. The child protection specialists can intervene when the child’s health, physical or psychological, is threatened.

Child abuse, as defined by law, covers not just physical or sexual abuse but also habitual maltreatment, neglect or exploitation by groups which teach fanaticism or hatred or urge the child to commit violence.

"The law defines judicial arrest that gives the specialist the right to enter a residence should a child be facing any danger within its walls and remove the child before the issuance of a court approval or order," said Ahmed Al Tartoor, a senior official with Sharjah’s social services department’s child affairs section. "The specialist must keep the child under their protection and responsibility until authorities are contacted.

"The law aims to protect them from abuse whether verbal or physical. "This will allow the child to grow up in a safe and healthy environment."

In some cases therapy will be offered to families who are struggling but if violence is detected, intervention will be immediate. If a child’s parents or guardian have taken steps to remove the danger threatening the child, the child will be allowed to stay with the family under supervision.

Within 15 days of being notified of a case, if a specialist cannot reach an agreement with the child’s parents, they must raise the matter with the appropriate child protection authority of whichever emirate the case is in. That authority will then contact public prosecutors about the matter.

The child protection specialist will use reports from doctors, social workers or a child’s teacher to decide whether a youngster needs help or removal from a home. The Community Development Authority (CDA), which is in charge of child protection in Dubai, plans to undertake a campaign to teach those who work with children how to spot and report abuse.

"We would like to see reporting increase and, in the long-term, to see cases of abuse decrease because of heightened awareness," said Khaled Al Kamda, director general of the CDA.

rtalwar@theantional.ae

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