Tue 28-04-2020 16:29 PM
SHARJAH, 28th April, 2020 (WAM) -- H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, directed the Child Safety Department, CSD, to establish a protection centre for victims of physical abuse, in a landmark initiative aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of children.
Titled "Kanaf", meaning protection or care in Arabic, this interdisciplinary, multi-agency child protection centre in Sharjah, will help standardise child protection measures and enable relevant entities to provide integrated referral and treatment services in its state-of-the-art facility, and in a safe, supportive environment.
The directive is part of Sheikha Jawaher's efforts to provide a safe and protective environment for children. Over the past few years, she has been reviewing physical abuse cases and following up on them with relevant departments and institutions in Sharjah.
Kanaf has been inspired by the "Barnahus" model that originated in Iceland in 1998. Literally meaning "Children’s Home", the success of this model in providing prompt legal, psychological and medical services to child abuse victims, saw more than 50 Barnahus-style centres spring up across the Scandinavian countries.
CSD, an affiliate of the SCFA, will be responsible for managing the centre. It will also coordinate and supervise its operations, as well as schedule visits and meetings with other local, federal and international child protection entities to implement the best international practices.
Kanaf will bring together four key organisations under one roof that will oversee and provide services for abuse cases, including the Sharjah Forensic Administration, Sharjah Public Prosecution, Sharjah Social Services Department’s Children Rights Protection Administration, and the Criminal Investigation and Social Support Departments at the Sharjah Police Headquarters.
Sheikha Jawaher stressed that Kanaf is a major step forward in promoting social development in Sharjah, and reflects the vision of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to enhance the role of social organisations in protecting children’s rights to live in a safe environment, which is vital to ensure their mental and physical health, which are fundamental rights, and instrumental for building a productive and socially conscientious generation.
Sheikha Jawaher said, "Across societies, children are the unfortunate victims of various types of abuse and maltreatment. For both children and their guardians, following up on these cases presents a real challenge as it involves time, effort and complex procedures. Therefore, facilitating this process is a social necessity. It is impossible for abused children to forget the trauma they had undergone and there is a real danger of it causing permanent psychological and health consequences. But when children feel safe and secure, it will aid in their recovery, allowing them to regain confidence and emotional security."
"Through the launch of Kanaf, which adds immense value to the institutional landscape in the emirate and the UAE, Sharjah reaffirms its commitment to enhance and develop its social system by protecting children’s rights and raising awareness and highlighting the importance of a shared vision to achieve comprehensive development and progress, and protect the dignity of every person," she added.
Kanaf will be a one-stop platform to conduct interviews with child abuse victims in a child-friendly space under the supervision of a team of experts.
Studies have revealed that frequent interviews have an adverse psychological effect on abuse victims as it reopens wounds of the harrowing experience and may cause more harm than the abuse itself.
To counter such negative consequences, Kanaf will set processes in place, including a unified digital framework, to prevent children from being subjected to multiple interviews with different agencies.
The establishment of Kanaf stems from a study undertaken by the CSD to review the current child protection mechanisms in Sharjah, including legal, psychological and social services. Officials at the CSD also visited child protection centres abroad to develop its model aligned with the emirate’s culture and values.
Sheikha Jawaher had previously announced the CSD's strategy for the years 2020-2021, aimed at building and strengthening partnerships between all related parties involved in protecting children’s rights and safety in Sharjah, in line with the CSD’s vision, "Aware Society Safe Child", which reflects the culture of the emirate and the essence of its social development project.