Protecting women and children in the UAE
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the protection and care risks faced by children include: early marriage, honor crimes, and child marriage; corporal punishment; child abuse; the belief that sex education violates local norms and values; child trafficking and exploitative labour; and over-reliance on residential care of children, including fostering arrangements and informal kinship care (i.e. over 300,000 children in the Gulf region are currently estimated to live in residential care).
The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) works to address domestic violence, human trafficking and child abuse in the UAE. They provide a holistic range of services to shed light on issues that are often hidden and taboo in Emirati culture.
DFWAC was founded with a focus on domestic violence and human trafficking. The organisation has since expanded its counseling, shelter, campaign and research activities to the areas of child abuse and protection. Today, DFWAC provides family counseling services and therapeutic support to women and children to prevent loss of family care and also to assist those in need of immediate protection.
In fact, DWFAC’s emergency shelter for women and children is the UAE’s first registered shelter. The shelter provides women and children with psychosocial support, training, schooling, leisure facilities, medical services, livelihoods support, legal services and (where necessary) support to return to their country of origin. Counseling services include drop-in services, effective parenting, temporary shelter (3-6 months) and a crisis helpline (which has responded to more than 1,000 victims to date).
DWFAC’s research aims to identify trends and compare these with studies in other countries. For example, they have completed 2 substantial studies on child abuse in the UAE, including 2,000 children, which has highlighted the issue of bullying in schools.
DWFAC uses a rights-based, social work case management approach to provide high quality services set to international standards. They are diligent about data protection and safety of their clients, and provide training for the women to increase their livelihood options and medical services.
Dubai Foundation for Women and Children Resources
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