UAE experts warn of rising child abuse
Abu Dhabi, December 2, 2013
Experts have warned of rising incidence of child abuse in the region and the long-term impact on victims, citing recent studies and global data.
A recent Sharjah study that surveyed students from seven government schools found that nearly 40 per cent were victims of threats of violence, 42 per cent suffered from neglect, and 25 per cent from physical abuse.
Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), managed by Cleveland Clinic, will be tackling the global issue at a public lecture on December 4, as part of its monthly mental health awareness lectures for the local community in Abu Dhabi.
The lecture is one of its efforts to promote the cause and increase awareness around the issue, said a statement from SKMC.
The local community will hear from experts in the field of child abuse, while also providing the opportunity for an open and free question and answer session.
“Abuse can happen to children of all ages, all races, across any socioeconomic background, and most often it occurs at home at the hands of the people closest to the child, such as parents, relatives, family friends or baby sitters,” said Dr Ahmed Almai, consultant child psychiatrist at SKMC.
“Many children in the region are subjected to all forms of child abuse and neglect - it is often ignored and sometimes even tolerated and accepted as a form of discipline. Abused children continue to suffer, without treatment, and most perpetrators of the abuse go unpunished,” said Dr Almai.
“Confronting these realities is a necessary step towards the long and hard road to break the silence, and prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect in the region,” he added.
Dr Almai is the chairman of the "Second International Child Mental and Behavioural Health Conference" set to take place on January 24 and 25, hosted under the UAE Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Society as part of the Emirates Medical Association.
The upcoming conference will bring together a line-up of doctors, clinicians and researchers from around the globe to discuss the theme of ‘Protection of Children and Families.’
Dr Rasha Al Nuaimi, specialist psychiatrist at SKMC, pointed out that child abuse was severely underreported in the UAE - with numbers growing.
“There is an urgent need for social awareness around the effects of child abuse and its hugely negative impact on the life of the child in the long term. We must continue to create and refine laws and mechanisms of protection for children as a priority, to raise a healthy generation,” Dr Al Nuaimi added. - TradeArabia News Service