Child Protection

The safe and healthy development of children is the foundation of Abu Dhabi’s future

Children begin life as totally dependent beings: they must rely on adults for the nurture, care, and protection they need to grow and thrive.

Social research findings show that children’s earliest experiences significantly influence their future development. The course of their development determines their contribution, or cost, to society over the course of their lives. As a result, the protection of children from maltreatment is crucial to the wellbeing of the society and overall development of the nation.

What are our motives for focusing on children protection?

The development of any nation depends on the health and wellbeing of its child population.

All children have the right to protection. Despite significant global effort to provide children with a safe environment to live and grow, child abuse and neglect continues to be prevalent. Research shows that children who have suffered maltreatment are more likely to have lower educational attainment and negative long-term effects such as behavioral, physical and mental health problems including depression. Comprehensive and stringent child protection measures are, therefore, imperative to ensure the wellbeing of the nation’s children.

What do we want to achieve by advocating for child protection?

Our ultimate goal is to ensure that every child in Abu Dhabi can develop and thrive in a safe and protected environment.

In line with this, we aim to continue our efforts to achieve the following:

  • Raise awareness and roll-out prevention programs that drive children, families, and communities to adopt non-violent behaviors
  • Offer unified reporting channels that are known and trusted by the Abu Dhabi population
  • Strengthen early detection capabilities and provide comprehensive, consistent and coordinated care services
  • Establish a robust case management modelthat supports change
  • Strengthen local law enforcement, child protection policy development, and research development efforts
  • Build skilled and committed human capital capabilities
What will we do?

We will always advocate to protect the children of Abu Dhabi.

Child protection requires a holistic approach that provides a child-centric journey ensuring every child is able to live and grow, without being subjected to any forms of maltreatment. This approach must be taken across the entire system, from prevention to response and ensuring an ecosystem that accelerates change.

How will we do that?

All those involved in child protection must work together to protect vulnerable children.

Protecting Abu Dhabi’s children is our collective responsibility. Family, society and the government are responsible to ensure that children grow up in a safe environment and play a crucial role to mitigate the damage in cases where children’s rights have been violated.

The child protection system requires all stakeholders to work together, hand-in-hand to safeguard our children. This includes close collaboration between educational, health, judicial and law enforcement as well as social sectors to prevent, identify, report, investigate, and support maltreated children and their families.

Who are our key partners?

We are working with several partners to build a safe and protected environment for children.

We are partnering with several federal and local government entities across the country in the education, health, judicial and law enforcement, and social sectors to achieve our vision.

Most importantly, we will rely on the community and the people of Abu Dhabi to be our eyes and ears on the ground, and to help us in ensuring that all the children of Abu Dhabi are safe from harm.

Who are we targeting with our efforts?

The Children of Abu Dhabi.

Children and their families in Abu Dhabi are included in our efforts regardless of origin, sex, religion, social status or disability.

When will you see the outcome of our efforts?

We are accelerating efforts to ensure an ongoingsafe and protected environment for all children.

The Child Protection system is a crucial pillar of our society and with increasing awareness, dialogue, and research the system will continuously evolve to achieve our vision. We have allocated the next 15 years as a determining period for our vision, but the residents of Abu Dhabi will see changes and impact from our inception.

What are our desired outcomes?

We aspire to achieve a number of outcomes for all children.

Our desired outcomes for all children are:

  • Zero tolerance towards child maltreatment and corporal punishment
  • Reduced number of child maltreatment cases in the future
  • Enhanced reporting and early detection of child maltreatment
  • Best interest of the child considered for handling cases from reporting to rehabilitation and re-integration
  • Availability of services to support child victims of maltreatment and their families
  • Availability of capabilities within institutions to effectively handle cases of abuse
How can you help?

As a member of the Abu Dhabi community, you can help in multiple ways.

We welcome all suggestions from any person or organization willing to support the safety and protection of children. Feel free to reach us via the Get In Touch page or through our Social Media channels.

You can also contribute, as responsible citizens and residents of Abu Dhabi, by reporting any suspected case of maltreatment via the MoI Child Protection Centre Hotline 116111.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to Child Protection. If your question is not addressed, please reach out to us.

Any person who is under eighteen years of age.
Any intentional or unintentional act that would lead to the physical or emotional harm of the child, or harm to their integrity, and prevent the child's development and growth in a safe and healthy manner. It covers physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional/psychological abuse (including bullying and cyberbullying), neglect, and exploitation. Each type of abuse can be identified by observing the child’s physical, emotional and social behaviors. Examples of these behaviors could include:

  • Physical abuse: bruises, scratches, stress, anxiety, avoidance of physical contact, isolated and withdrawn.
  • Sexual abuse: bedwetting and soiling, low self-esteem, eating disorder, distrust, anti-social behavior, inappropriate sexualized behaviors.
  • Emotional/psychological abuse: aggressive to other children, not meeting developmental milestones, lack of confidence, overly affectionate to strangers, anxious and fearful from going to school, diminishing or no contact with usual friends.
  • Neglect: unwashed clothing, body, smelling unpleasant, poor dental health, lack of empathy, stealing or begging for food, poor school attendance.
  • Sexual exploitation: physical signs of abuse, appearing tired, frightened and/or confused, associated with or developing a relationship with an older man/woman, In possession of new expensive items such as watches, mobile, clothes or money.
  • Economic exploitation: feeling exhausted, depression, anxiety, isolated from friends and family, forced to engage in criminal behavior.
Any person (young or adult) living in Abu Dhabi suspecting a case of child abuse is encouraged to report it. Reporting can be done by calling the Child Protection Center hotline on 116111, or notifying the official authorities such as the police, social support centers, or schools. Practitioners such as educators, physicians, and social specialists have a legal responsibility to report any suspected case of abuse to the relevant child protection units within their sector.
If you see a child being abused, you should immediately call the Child Protection Center hotline on 116111.
All children should be protected from any form of abuse. If you are a victim of abuse you can call the Child Protection Center in confidence at 116111 or notify the Child Protection Center on the Himayati application (if you have access to a smartphone). You can also notify an adult that you trust, and they would be able to notify the authorities.
The identity of the person who files a child maltreatment report is protected by law.
Parenting is not an easy task and in case you require guidance you can reach out to the Family Development Foundation which offers numerous parenting workshops. You can visit www.fdf.org.ae or contact them on 800555.
There is zero tolerance in Abu Dhabi for being abusive towards children. Handling a reported suspicion of child abuse varies depending on the severity of the case. The Abu Dhabi Police and the Social Support Centers would investigate the case. And both would invest their best efforts to resolve family issues by providing adequate support, helping to the child and the family to deal with the situation, and hold offenders responsible and accountable for their actions.
The Social Support Centers would ensure that child victims and their families get access to adequate treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration services. They would also offer alternative care and sheltering for victims and members of their families when needed.
All children and their families living in Abu Dhabi.
Multiple laws are available nationally to ensure protection for children including Federal Law No.3 (2016) Concerning Child Rights (Wadeema); Federal Law No. 3 (1987) Concerning the Issuance of the Penal Code; Federal Law No. 9 (1976) Concerning Juvenile Delinquents and Vagrants; Federal Law No. 1 (2012) Concerning the Custody of Children of Unknown Parentage; Federal Law No 28 (2005) Concerning Personal Status; Federal Law No. 11 (2012) Concerning Compulsory Education.
All individuals who suspect a case of child abuse are encouraged to report it. If investigations later reveal that the suspicion is not substantiated, the person who reported it would not be penalized if the report was made in good faith.

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