The Child Safety Department (CSD), an affiliate of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) in Sharjah, has previewed the pilot phase of Kanaf Child Protection Centre that carries the slogan, ‘Safe Again’.
Visualised as a safe haven for victims of child abuse, Kanaf has been established under the directive of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of SCFA. Aimed at unifying protection mechanisms for children who have faced abuse, Kanaf will ensure their safety by providing a safe and supportive environment as well as access to the required legal, social and emotional support through relevant entities, all under one roof.
At a workshop organised at the House of Wisdom, CSD showcased the procedures and mechanisms in place at child protection centres worldwide with a view to choosing and implementing the practices that align with the vision of Kanaf in Sharjah.
Andrew Morley, director at PwC and former chief officer for Criminal ustice in London, UK, who is working closely with CSD on the Kanaf project, informed partners about first-level strategies of the project’s implementation procedures that will blend the very best of international practice with the specific needs of Sharjah’s child protection measures. Hessa Al Jarwan of CSD, spoke about global best practices adopted by child protection homes, highlighting the Scandinavian practice of bringing together all relevant parties and entities under one roof to provide optimum support to child victims.
Participants at the workshop provided the institutional perspectives of dealing with child abuse cases by highlighting the challenges faced when working with victims of abuse. In addition to offering recommendations regarding the implementation of Kanaf, they also discussed the joint responsibilities of the agencies as well as the way forward.
Speaking on the occasion, Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, Director of CSD, said: “Kanaf translates the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SCFA, to standardise child protection measures, identify partners and adopt global best practices in the field. This workshop is in alignment with goal to incorporate varied perspectives and viable solutions into this experimental stage of our project so as to facilitate a lucid and stress-free child protection journey.”
Al Yafei added: “Sharjah institutions have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can inform and unify all efforts to standardise child protection mechanisms. Through partnerships with entities relevant to this project, we aim to develop child protection practices, realise the slogan of this programme, and make it a priority. We hope Kanaf incorporates the best child protection measures so that we can add value to the leading child safety practices worldwide and ensure the safety of children.”
For his part, Andrew Morley said: “This workshop represents a qualitative shift from theoretical discussion to practical planning, to reach a stage where we visualise the child’s journey inside Kanaf, and the services that will be provided to him or her. Throughout the workshop, attendees showed their extensive knowledge and commitment to developing this first-of-its-kind project in the Arab world, and mark a new milestone in Sharjah’s journey to safeguard children and their rights.”
The workshop was attended by representatives from the Sharjah Public Prosecution Office, Forensic Medicine Department, Sharjah Federal Court of First Instance from the Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Education; Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah; Child Protection Department at Sharjah Social Services Department; Sharjah Police; and Al Qassimi Women’s & Children’s Hospital.