Ab­sent folks fu­elling abuse

Prose­cu­tor: par­ents not there for kids

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Nawal Al Ramahi @nawal_ramahi nawal@7days.ae

Fail­ure by moth­ers and fathers to un­der­stand what is go­ing on aroud them is to blame for what pros­e­cu­tors say is a rise in the num­ber of child sex abuse cases in Dubai.

Mo­hammed Al Ham­madi, from Al Dar Pros­e­cu­tion, which han­dles crimes re­lat­ing to women, young peo­ple and those with spe­cial needs, said many cases could be avoided if par­ents were there for their chil­dren.

Fig­ures are yet to be pub­lished for 2015 though the num­ber of re­ported cases has risen grad­u­ally, from 40 in 2012 to 51 in 2013 and 57 com­plaints in 2014.

But Dubai Po­lice of­fi­cers have pre­vi­ously said “ninety-five per cent of cases” go un­re­ported.

Al Ham­madi said: “Dubai Pros­e­cu­tion has seen a rise in the num­ber of child sex abuse cases and found that the ma­jor­ity of cases in­volve peo­ple re­sid­ing in the neigh­bour­hood they live in.

“With proper parental su­per­vi­sion, most chil­dren would be free from such abuse.”

Al Ham­madi said be­ing ed­u­cated about the is­sue makes chil­dren more likely to ask for help.

He said: “Chil­dren who are taught about how to pre­vent sex­ual abuse at school are more likely to tell an adult if they had, or were ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, sex­ual abuse.”

The prose­cu­tor was speak­ing af­ter the Dubai Foun­da­tion for Women and Chil­dren (DFWAC) held an event on Thurs­day to de­tail the work it does with vic­tims of abuse.

The foun­da­tion has re­ceived more than 450 vic­tims of abuse since it was es­tab­lished in 2007. It pro­vides re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for chil­dren and coun­selling for fam­i­lies.

Huda Rus­tom, a crim­i­nal lawyer in Dubai, said par­ents leav­ing their chil­dren unat­tended is com­mon in the cases she deals with.

She said: “For in­stance, many par­ents leave their chil­dren in the swimming pool and assign their house­maid to watch them.

“The maid could play a mi­nor role in ob­serv­ing the chil­dren but that’s not likely to be enough.

“And many cases of abuse are com­mit­ted by do­mes­tic work­ers when chil­dren are left alone.”

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