Queen receives UN general secretary’s Study on Violence Against Children

Family experts call for national action plan

February 04, 2007

(Jordan Times, Rana Husseini - Amman) Family protection experts called on the concerned authorities to exert more efforts to ensure greater protection for children from all forms of abuse and violence. The call for a national action plan for family protection was made during a one-day event organised by the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania. The participants, representing the concerned ministries, local NGOs and other governmental institutes, called for establishing a national committee to receive child abuse complaints and human rights clubs for children. They also called on Muslim and Christian religious institutions to address the issue of family violence and increase the number of establishments that deal with street peddlers and vagrants. The recommendations, which were read out by schoolchildren who took part in the event, suggested amending procedures adopted by the authorities in child abuse cases, by taking the aggressor out of the family instead of the abused child. In addition, the participants recommended holding awareness workshops on this topic in schools and called for a stronger monitoring system of family abuse by the Education Ministry. A similar request was made to the Ministry of Labour to monitor working children in the country. Participants also compared the findings of the UN secretary general’s Study on Violence Against Children with the country’s situation and achievements in this field. Some of the UN study’s recommendations for Jordan focused on amending legislation to prevent all forms of violence against children and facilitating comprehensive services for abuse victims. It also called for implementing a national media campaign strategy in Jordan to raise awareness and adopting a training plan for workers in the field of domestic violence. Several ministers listed their ministries’ achievements concerning family violence over the past year as well as obstacles hindering their progress in this field. Minister of Education Khalid Touqan said a new domestic abuse branch, a hotline and a link on the ministry’s website, was established to receive complaints from students. The ministry also implemented several projects and initiatives on protection from abuse and the issue of school dropouts. Minister of Justice Sharif Zu’bi announced the establishment of a family affairs branch at the ministry to review national legislation and international conventions signed by Jordan. He also said the ministry is currently evaluating the specialised courtroom for abused children that has been operating at the Criminal Court for the past 19 months. The Ministry of Social Development cooperated with governmental and NGOs in drafting the Family Protection Law, which is expected to be discussed by the Cabinet next week, Minister of Social Development Suleiman Tarawneh said. He added that 2,329 child abuse cases were registered in 2006, including 261 sexual abuse cases. Meanwhile, a committee comprising medical specialists was established to tackle health issues related to child abuse in Jordan, according to Health Minister Saad Kharabsheh. He said around 500 physicians were trained over the past year on early detection of child abuse, adding that the ministry’s future goal is to place trained physicians at each of the country’s 700 health centres. At the end of the session, the organisers presented Queen Rania with the national framework for dealing with domestic violence, while UNICEF representative in Jordan Anne Skatvedt presented her with a copy of the UN general secretary’s Study on Violence Against Children, which was officially launched during the session. The UN study is a global effort to paint a detailed picture of the nature, extent and causes of violence against children and to propose clear recommendations for action to prevent and respond to it.