Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy 2020/2021
- The Ministry of Education (MoE) has launched a Child Protection Unit’ initiative, targeting the students of government and private schools across the UAE. The initiative is aimed at protecting children from all forms of harm, negligence and abuse that they may experience in the surrounding environment at school or at home and maintaining the safety of students from the physical, psychological or educational perspectives. (MoE launches ‘Child Protection Unit’ initiative, 2019)
- Safeguarding and Child protection is the responsibility of all adults and especially those working with children. The development of appropriate school procedures and the monitoring of good practices are the responsibilities of the person(s) in charge of Safeguarding and Child Protection.
a) Neglect: The persistent or severe neglect of a child which results in impairment of health or development.
b) Physical Abuse: Actual or likely physical injury to a child, or failure to prevent physical injury or suffering.
c) Sexual Abuse: Actual or likely exploitation of a child by involvement in sexual activities without informed consent or understanding, or that violate social taboos or family roles.
d) Emotional Abuse: actual or likely severe adverse effects on the emotional and behavioral development of a child by persistent or severe emotional ill-treatment, inappropriate treatment, or rejection.
e) Potential Abuse: situations where children may not have been abused but where social and medical assessments indicate a high degree of risk that they might be abused in the future, including situations where another child in the household has been abused, or where there is a known abuser.
f) Bullying: any persistent and uninvited behaviour which insults, hurts or intimidates another individual (includes cyber bullying
Important contact from Victoria English school:
- Keith Sykes, Headteacher: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms. Carla Pozza, Head of Primary: email@example.com
- Mr. Matthew keyes, Deputy head teacher and head of Secondary: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms. Rayane Hoblos, School Counsellor: email@example.com
 Ministry of education. 2019. Moe Launches ‘Child Protection Unit’ Initiative. [online] Available at: <https://www.moe.gov.ae/en/mediacenter/news/pages/childprotectionunit1.aspx> [Accessed 2 May 2020].
Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 concerning child rights, also known as Wadeema’s, stresses that all children must be provided with appropriate living standards, access to health services, education, equal opportunities in essential services and facilities without any kind of discrimination. The law protects children against all forms of negligence, exploitation, physical and psychological abuses.
The law allows childcare specialists to remove children from their homes against parents’ wishes and without judicial permission in cases of imminent danger. In less severe cases, specialists may intervene by visiting the child regularly, providing social services and mediating a solution between the family and the child.
Those who put children in danger, abandon them, neglect them, leave them without supervision, do not enroll them in school or register them upon their birth will be subject to a prison sentence or a fine or both. The law applies to all children up to the age of 18. (Children – The Official Portal of the UAE Government, 2020)
What is child abuse?
Child abuse is when a child is intentionally harmed by an adult or another child – it can be over a period of time but can also be a one-off action. It can be physical, sexual or emotional and it can happen in person or online. It can also be a lack of love, care and attention – this is neglect.
Report child abuse
You can report child abuse to MoI through the hotline number 116111 or through the MoI’s Child Protection Centre’s website and the ‘Hemayati’ (Arabic for protect me) app (available on Android and iOS).
- Community Development Authority- CDA on hotline: 800988
- EWAA Shelter for Women and Children on hotline: 8007283
- Dubai Foundation for Women and Children on 800111
- Child protection centre in Sharjah on toll-free helpline number 800 700.
- Hemaya Foundation for Children and Women – Ajman on hotline: 800himaya (800446292)
- Aman Centre for Women and Children through RAK Police – 07-2356666
2 U.ae. 2020. Children – The Official Portal Of The UAE Government. [online] Available at: <https://u.ae/en/information-and-services/social-affairs/children#childrensrights> [Accessed 2 May 2020].
3 U.ae. 2020. Children – The Official Portal Of The UAE Government. [online] Available at: <https://u.ae/en/information-and-services/social-affairs/children#childrensrights> [Accessed 2 May 2020].
Categories of Abuse:
There are four broad categories of abuse which are generally recognized:
1. Emotional Abuse: is failure to provide for the child’s basic emotional needs such as to have a severe effect on the behaviour and development of the child. This includes conveying to children the feeling that they are worthless or unloved.
Signs of possible emotional abuse
Physical/mental/emotional developmental lags
- Admission of punishment which seems excessive
- Over reaction to mistakes
- Fear of new situations
- Inappropriate emotional response to painful situations
- Neurotic behaviour (e.g., rocking, thumb sucking etc)
- Fear of parents being contacted
- Extremes of passivity or aggression
2. Neglect: This refers to persistent or deliberate failure to meet a child’s physical or psychological needs e.g. a failure to provide adequate food, clothing or shelter, failure to protect a child or failure to provide adequate medical care. It may also involve neglect or failure to give adequate response to a child’s emotional needs.
Signs of possible physical neglect
- Constant hunger
- Poor personal hygiene
- Constant tiredness
- Poor state of clothing
- Frequent lateness and/or unexplained non-attendance
- Untreated medical problems
- Low self-esteem
- Poor peer relationships
3. Physical Injury: This involves physical harm to a child e.g. hitting, shaking, scalding and may be deliberate or a result of failure to take adequate precautions. It can also include the deliberate with holding of physical needs.
Signs of possible physical abuse
- Unexplained injuries or burns, particularly if they are recurrent.
- Improbable excuses given to explain injuries.
- Refusal to discuss injuries.
- Untreated injuries, or delay in reporting them.
- Excessive physical punishment.
- Arms and legs kept covered in hot weather
- Fear of returning home.
- Aggression towards others.
- Running away
4. Sexual Abuse: is where a child may be deemed to have been sexually abused when any person(s), by design or neglect, exploits the child, directly or indirectly, in any activity intended to lead to the sexual arousal or other forms of gratification of that person or any other person(s) – including organised networks. This definition holds whether or not there has been genital contact and whether or not the child is said to have initiated the behaviour.
Signs of possible sexual abuse
- Age-inappropriate sexual knowledge, language, behaviours discarded cuddly toys
- Loss of appetite or compulsive eating
- Regressive behaviours such as thumb sucking, needing previously
- Becoming withdrawn, isolated
- Inability to focus
- Reluctance to go home
- Drawing sexually explicit pictures
- Over-reacting to criticism
- Have outbursts of anger/irritability
All staff will be expected to contribute towards an environment that offers children maximum protection e.g. contributing to creation of a positive atmosphere in which students are respected and know that they can find assistance if necessary. Children should know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they have a worry or a problem.
VES has a school counsellor:
- Rayane Hoblos: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roles and Responsibilities:
It is a moral, ethical and legal responsibility of any teaching professional or other staff member to report suspected cases of child abuse, neglect or safety concerns.
The Role of Teachers and Support Staff
Child protection is everybody’s responsibility. When not at home or another ‘caring base’, children spend more time in school than anywhere else. Teachers have a very close relationship and contact with children who generally trust them .
All Teachers and Support Staff Members Must:
- establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened to,
- inform if any form of child abuse is suspected,
- integrate child protection issues into relevant teaching and learning to help children protect themselves,
- communicate all concerns and keep written records of concerns, even where there is lack of evidence (records should state facts not opinions).
- respect the confidentiality of all concerned regarding the welfare of children respect children as individuals and engage them in conversations,
Talking and Listening to Children
If a child wants to confide in you, you SHOULD:
- Be accessible and receptive
- Listen carefully and uncritically, at the child’s pace
- Take what is said seriously
- Reassure children that they are right to tell
- Tell the child that you must pass this information on.
- Make sure that the child is ok
- Make a careful record of what was said (see Recording)
You should NEVER
- Investigate or seek to prove or disprove possible abuse
- Make promises about confidentiality or keeping ‘secrets’ to children
- Assume that someone else will take the necessary action
- Jump to conclusions, be dismissive or react with shock, anger, horror etc.
- Speculate or accuse anybody
- Investigate, suggest or probe for information
- Confront another person (adult or child) allegedly involved
- Offer opinions about what is being said or the persons allegedly involved
- Forget to record what you have been told
- Fail to pass this information on to the correct person
- State who was present, time, date and place
- Be written in ink and be signed by the recorder
- Be passed to the head of department.
- Use the child’s words wherever possible
- Be factual/state exactly what was said
Differentiate clearly between fact, opinion, interpretation, observation
What information do you need to obtain?
- Schools have no investigative role in child protection (will refer cases to the child protection)
- Never prompt or probe for information, your job is to listen, record and pass on.
- Ideally, you should be clear about what is being said in terms of who, what, where and when
If you do need to ask questions, what is and isn’t OK?
- Never asked closed questions i.e. ones which children can answer yes or no to e.g. Did he touch you?
- Never make suggestions about who, how or where someone is alleged to have touched, hit etc. e.g. top or bottom, front or back?
- If we must, use only ‘minimal prompts’ such as ‘go on … tell me more about that … tell me everything that you remember about that … … ‘.
- Timescales are very important: ‘When was the last time this happened?’ is an important question
What to do on suspicion or disclosure:
Becoming aware of abuse can cause a multitude of emotional reactions, which are personal to the individual. Whatever the reaction, it must be responded to in the correct manner, outlined below.