The Community Development Authority (CDA) of Dubai has recently
drafted a new child protection policy, which protects children,
investigates abuses against their rights, and provides government
services to families and children believed to be in danger. This
new policy seeks to protect not only children residing in the
Emirate, but even children just passing through. Currently, there
is no federal law addressing child abuse and neglect, nor is there
a process for intervention if the child is abused by a family
Sharjah was the first emirate to address child abuse, but Dubai
is quickly following suit. The CDA seeks to implement a law in all
the emirates. The CDA set out multiple goals in getting the policy
to become federal law. They are seeking to promote awareness of
childrens' rights, prevent the mistreatment of children, and
develop a comprehensive and integrated system that deals with cases
of abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation. However many challenges
stand in their way, including the ability to market and inform the
masses. It is difficult to reconcile the different ideas about
parenting in such a multicultural environment, and for that same
reason it is difficult to implement the policy across so many
languages, cultures, and families. Moreover, many cases of child
abuse go unreported; therefore, the lack of data makes it hard to
develop a wide-ranging policy.
In 2008 a federal child protection law was drafted, but never
enacted; this will serve as the framework for a new child
protection system. Currently Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
of Dubai is rushing to draft and pass a federal child protection
law as a result of a case that shocked the nation. It was recently
reported that a father is suspected of killing his 8 year old
daughter and torturing her younger sister. The Sheikh visited the
younger daughter in the hospital, realizing this situation
highlighted the current law's inadequacies. The new child
protection law will be tailored to children instead of the current
general penalty code, under which killing a child is no different
than killing an adult. A second proposal is also currently being
drafted, which seeks to cover child pornography and criminal
penalties for the mistreatment of children. The federal law could
seek to merge both proposals.
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