(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) is planning to set up a helpline to prevent child abuse cases in the country and also help those who have faced it.
The ministry had recently convened a high-level meeting to discuss the issue. A senior MoSD official said, ''All stakeholders participated in the meeting. They discussed the issue and put forth the idea of setting up a helpline to prevent child abuse cases in the country.''
The official said the helpline's main purpose will be to improve and open communication channels between parents, family members and ministry staff. ''The key is to help children who are at risk of abuse or are facing it.''
It was the first meeting this year of the core group tasked with looking at ways to prevent such cases.
''The meeting was attended by representatives of MoSD, the ministries of Education and Health, ROP and the Omani Women's Association.''
She said the ministry is planning to set up working groups to study and follow-up on cases. ''The Directorate General of Family Development in the ministry is taking a lead role in this regard.''
Explaining different kinds of child abuse, Dr Gerald D'Costa, clinical psychiatrist at Badr al Samaa Hospital, said, ''There are three kinds of abuse: Physical, mental and sexual. The neglect of a child can also be considered as a kind of abuse. Children from any age group and gender can be a victim.
''Once a child is abused, he/she sends warning signals, which can be in the form of disregard for academic studies, loneliness, staying away from home and a short temper. The best way for parents and guardians to prevent such cases is to keep communication channels open with the child. The child should be provided a safe environment.''
Dr D'Costa said that there are cases wherein parents themselves have been abusers. ''Since a child is most vulnerable both, in mind and body, all kinds of abuse leave permanent