Most Read Contributor in United Arab Emirates, March 2017
People convicted of sexual assault or child pornography cannot
be employed in jobs that place them in contact with children or
involved in any activity involving kids up to the age of 18 years,
as part of wide-ranging child protection measures detailed in
In a detailed Child Protection Measures section, federal
authorities and local authorities have been asked to set
"necessary controls and procedures in relation to child safety
in public and entertainment spaces as well as public
As a consequence of the law effective from June, employers will
need to conduct thorough background checks on staff, legal experts
The Ministry of Social Affairs will keep a confidential register
of people involved in child mistreatment cases that can only be
accessed with consent from the court or public prosecutors.
As a consequence of the new law, employers need to conduct
thorough background checks on their staff, according to legal
"They will be liable and will have the liability of a
higher sentence if they do not report any offence against
children," said Hassan Elhais, a lawyer at Al Rowaad Advocates
and Legal Consultancy. He urged companies to hold regular
educational and awareness sessions for employees.
"A good record is a good sign but it does not mean that the
person will not commit a crime. They will need to check backgrounds
of their members, monitor and watch them doing the work. The real
guarantee for any corporate would be by watching their members,
teaching them how to deal with children and educating them in case
there is any breach of the Child Protection Law."
Relatives, caregivers, health workers, teachers or officials who
do not offer assistance to a child and fail to notify authorities
about child abuse cases can be fined up to Dh50, 000.
The law also states that a person convicted of child sexual
assault may not live within a five-kilometre radius of the
A person convicted of sexual assault against a child can only be
released after a psychological test ascertains they are not a
If safety cannot be guaranteed, the law asks the court to order
their placement in an asylum after they complete their sentence,
said Jassim Al Hosni, the first judge of appeal in Dubai
School bus companies welcomed the new law. "This sort of
stringent law is very important when we look at staff members who
manage a large number of students," said ML Augustine,
managing director of the School Transport Services, Dubai's
largest operator of school buses, which serves about 45,000
The company conducts background checks on job applicants by
contacting their former employers and the police in their home
The Roads and Transport Authority or the Department of Transport
then initiates a criminal background check before issuing a school
bus driving license.
"Once we register the person's information with the RTA
or DOT, it takes a month to get approval for anyone involved in
school transport whether a bus driver or attendant.
Only then can the person be provided training or given a license
for a school bus. We welcome strict checks to ensure the safety of
Clear definitions of abuse, what constitutes child pornography
and a child's rights will aid the judiciary to resolve
"By contemplating these definitions, we notice their key
role in helping the judge as they delimit every term for a sound
implementation of the law," Judge Al Hosni said.
Among the main objectives outlined by the law for federal and
local governments to achieve is to safeguarding a child's
interests by protecting his right to live and develop safely away
from neglect, abuse, maltreatment or physical and psychological
"By contemplating these objectives, we notice that the law
seeks to create an environment where the child's interests are
prioritised in protecting the future of the family and community as
the responsibility of a child falls upon individuals and
governments alike," he said.
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