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New scheme to fight child abuse

Manama, February 9, 2008

A new scheme being launched in Bahrain aims to help special needs children protect themselves against being abused.

Special needs children are particularly vulnerable, said Be Free Centre manager Rana Al Sairafi.

Be Free is Middle East's first anti-child abuse and neglect centre for children and caregivers.

The centre was set up to provide Arabic and English language training and support to children, parents, teachers and people dealing with children.

Formed by a partnership between the Bahrain Women's Society and the United Nations International Children's Fund, with the support of the Esterad Investment Company, Be Free is a pioneer programme that focuses on protecting children from abuse and neglect.

It also focuses on the healing of abused children and adult victims of abuse in childhood.

Its centre in Zinj has launched a new progamme geared especially for special needs children, said Al Sairafi.

She was speaking after a training workshop for Be Free Centre counsellors and volunteers on how to handle traumatised children.

The five-day workshop was organised and sponsored by the British Embassy for a group of 10 Be Free counsellors and volunteers.

It was led by UK-based psychotherapist and trainer Chrissy Rolfe and included counselling for children.

The Former National Society for the Protection of Children service manager has more than 27 years' experience in counselling abused children.

She was visiting to run the first of two workshops, the second of which will be held from March 6 to 11.

'This training is part of Be-Free Centre's ongoing training to maintain a high standard of service to the community,' said Al Sairafi.

'Recently, there has been more demand on the counselling services from our centre and we would like to help more children and their parents, especially abused children.

'We concentrate also on building their personalities and developing a sense of responsibility towards themselves and others.'

These children often suffer from low self-esteem but do not get the proper protection they need, she added.

British Embassy political officer Andy Stephenson said: 'We are delighted to have a chance to support the excellent work of the Be Free Centre and their goals for educating strong, smart and safe children.'

Last year, Be Free taught more than 8,600 children essential protection skills and trained more than 6,700 caregivers on how to protect their children from abuse.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | abuse | scheme | Be free | centre |

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