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We previously looked at the UAE Child Rights Law (UAE Federal Law No. 3 of 2016) and the evolving landscape in the UAE in relation to child rights and safeguarding children.
The focus of the previous article was in relation to HR issues around background checks and how to deal with issues when they arise. The focus of this article is in relation to safeguarding children generally and aims to bring readers up to speed on the latest developments in this evolving area and look at what is coming down the track.
By way of brief recap on the Child Rights Law which was enacted in 2016. The key pillars of it are:
The executive regulations to the law, which set out the details and mechanics of how it will be implemented, have not been issued yet. The regulations will determinate the competencies of the CPU’s and operating mechanisms within each ministry.
We do have an idea of what the new safeguarding regime will look like.
One of the major features of the law is the creation of an official child protection specialist role (“CPS”) with sweeping powers.
We understand that it is envisaged that private entities may have a member of their own staff appointed as a CPS. So in the education space a child protection officer from a school or college could be appointed to this official role of CPS, which carries with it quasi-judicial powers including:
The CPS would receive training prior to appointment and would have the full backup and authority of the law.
Without doubt this is a very significant development and will be welcomed by education providers.
In the meantime, and prior to the establishment of the CPUs and the CPS system, schools can report any suspicions of abuse to the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry, which has remit over a wide range of functions including the police, has a dedicated child protection unit. The unit deals with child protection complaints from the general public, schools and any other sources. Contact details are as follows:
A complaint can be made anonymously or otherwise. The unit will then contact the child protection unit of the local police force.
Even after the establishment of the CPUs it is expected that any allegation of sexual abuse would be reported to the police directly or via the Ministry of Interior.
Significant and welcome changes are imminent in the child protection space. The authorities are working on what appears to be well thought-out procedures and processes which will involve educational institutions becoming integrated in the framework and solution.
Al Tamimi & Company’s employment team regularly advises on all aspects of the employment relationship in the UAE, in relation to the education sector and across all other sectors and industries. For further information please contact Ivor McGettigan (firstname.lastname@example.org).