Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, launched the UAE Network for Child Protection on Wednesday. The network will be responsible for ensuring the child safety and maintaining the rights of children in the UAE. The announcement was made during Sheikha Jawaher’s visit to the Protection of Children’s Rights Administration that falls under the Department of Social Services in Sharjah where Director General, Afaf Al Marri, received Her Highness.
Sheikha Jawaher said, “In order to develop a safe and protective environment for children, we aim to develop the skills and capacities of workers in this field, especially those who work with victims of violence.”
“The network is open for individual and institutional memberships, and it welcomes applications from the public who are willing to influence, as well as institutions working in this field, and everybody who is interested,” she added.
During her visit, Sheikha Jawaher met Aisha Al Ali, Head of the Child Hotline team, who explained the project’s role in dealing with emergency issues, such as physical violence, sexual abuse and negligence. Al Ali said the hotline had received 2,612 calls since its establishment in 2007 up to 2014, with the majority of calls being placed by one of the parents (55%), and that children had been harmed in 39.5% of the cases. She added that the team performed 40 urgent interventions in 2014 alone. Al Ali also showcased their application in the Android store as well as their online service.
Fatima Al Marzouqi, Psychologist and Director of the Children House briefed Shaikha Jawaher on the ‘Ishraka’ programme. A first of its kind in the country, the programme utilises therapeutic game in order to rehabilitate victims of sexual abuse from 5 to 13 years old. Shaikha Jawaher also met Maryam Al Owais, Social Worker at the Rights Protection Section, and Maryam Ismail, Head of ‘Weyqqaya’ Committee, who protect vulnerable segments of society.
Sheikha Jawaher expressed her deep sympathy when she heard some stories during the visit, pointing out that children often end up paying the dearest price when adults face conflict. “We are sorry to hear such stories in our kind-hearted society, which emphasises the importance of protecting children’s rights, and helping their families overcome difficulties,” she said.
Afaf Al Marri, expressed her appreciation and thanked Shaikha Jawaher for her visit and for her efforts which aim to ensure children’s rights. “Our responsibility towards children is huge. It necessitates that we should work hard to face the changes that are affecting the UAE society in general and social life in Sharjah in particular.” she said.