Hit­ting kids now a crime

Top cop’s warn­ing over child dis­ci­pline

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Ali Al Shouk @alial­shouk ali.shouk@7days.ae

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.

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