As of yesterday the UAE has implemented new child protection laws.
The law comes hot of the heels of the recent campaign in which Dubai Police created two animated videos to warn children to beware of strangers, and how to present themselves in in dangerous situations.
The videos were created following the shocking murder of eight-year-old Obaida Ebrahim Al Aqrabawi – who was abducted and killed by a 48-year-old man.
According to the new UAE’s Child Protection Law reporting cases of child abuse or negligence is now mandatory for all members of the community. Anyone in contact with a child, including parents, teachers and medical professionals can be held accountable for causing harm, and are legally obliged to report cases of suspected abuse.
The Federal Law No 3 of 2016, ensures that every child in the UAE has the right to live and be safe, protected from neglect and all forms of abuse. The new law is also referred to as the Wudeema Law in memory of an eight-year-old Emirati girl who was starved and tortured to death in Dubai by her father and his girlfriend in 2012.
Anyone who suspects neglect or abuse of a child is encouraged to call the nationwide hotline 116111, with a guarantee of anonymity and confidentiality.
“Our child protection specialists will be available on call any time,” said Khaled Al Kamda, director general of the Community Development Authority. “If a child’s life is in danger then we intervene immediately. The centre has the authority to go, take out the child and remove them to safety.”
Lawyers and social psychologists will be sent into schools to educate teachers about the rights of children. “When a mother calls about a child abuse situation asking what she can do, we will connect her to a lawyer. This advice will be free,” added Al Kamda.
Any convicted of abusing a child can face a fine ranging from Dh5,000 and Dh50,000 as well as a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
If you a suspect child abuse in any form, contact the 116111 hotline.