Muscat – The Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) has launched a campaign in Dhahirah governorate in its efforts to curb child abuse.
The campaign was launched on December 5 and will continue till December 12, an official of the ministry said. It is being held in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and the Public Prosecution.
Sultan bin Qais al Abri, director general of the Directorate of Social Development in Dhahirah, said the campaign will raise awareness on the role of child protection committees among members of society. It also aims to shed light on social issues such children’s exploitation and online extortion.
“The campaign’s programme includes a number of activities such presentation of a video about abuse, organising field visits, and distributing awareness brochures among school students in the governorate.”
294 cases of child abuse in Q4 2020
MoSD has stated that 294 cases of child abuse were handled by child protection committees across the sultanate in the fourth quarter of 2020, with most cases being reported in Muscat.
Muscat registered 105 cases, followed by North Batinah (75), South Batinah (30), South Sharqiyah (23), Buraimi (16), Dakhliyah (13), Dhahirah (12), North Sharqiyah (11), Dhofar (five) and Musandam (four).
Additionally, 178 cases of abuse were registered through the ministry’s Child Protection Line (1100) during the same period.
“Some children need immediate social, psychological and medical treatment,” the ministry official said, adding that there are cases which require immediate intervention by child protection officials.
“In such cases, the abused child is shifted to Dar al Wefaq in the Department of Family Protection. This house is dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of abused children.”
Abri informed that the hotline service is operational 24×7.
“It’s a free line. We ensure full confidentiality of the complaint and the caller. Depending upon the complaint, it is forwarded to relevant authorities.”
The Department of Family Protection was established through Ministerial Decision No 330/2012 for the overall welfare of children. It is responsible for developing family protection plans and strengthening efforts to serve the family better, the official said.
“The department ensures the provision of stability and family cohesion, and provides a safe environment away from negative behaviour, and receives complaints via hotline to protect children.”