Hitting kids now a crime
Top cop’s warning over child discipline
Adults who use violence against children, including parents trying to discipline their kids, will feel the full force of a new law, a senior police officer has said.
General Mohammed Al Murr, head of the Human Rights Department at Dubai Police, was speaking after the Child Law came into effect this week.
The law covers a wide range of measures, including not seeking the proper treatment for an unwell child and the refusal to pay alimony.
He said: “The law will change parents’ behaviour with their children.
“Many Arab parents still insist on beating their children for discipline, as we didn’t have a child law until now. They would have thought nothing can happen to them - but things have changed now.”
He believes the law will reduce the incidents of negligence and physical abuse against children, saying: “Beating your child is not a good way to instill discipline, because it harms the child physically and mentally and this has an effect on the child’s behaviour in the future.”
Parents who neglect their children or cause physical harm can be punished with fines starting from Dhs5,000 or prison time of up to three years.
He said that many families continue to place the upbringing of their children in their maids’ hands, but regardless, the new law places responsibility on parents.
He said the Child Protection Section at the Human Rights Department dealt with 41 incidents in the first five months of 2016.
He gave the example of one mother, from an Arab country, who used to beat her 10-year old son. The boy’s teachers reported her to police when they saw marks on his body.
When police confronted her she admitted that she would beat him because he was a “naughty child”. Al Murr said she escaped punishment, and was made to sign a document saying she would not do it again. Under the new law, he said, she would have faced time behind bars.