Muscat: Oman’s official UNICEF representative says the Sultanate is making progress in reducing child abuse cases and stemming violence against children.
“In Oman, between 2007 and 2013, there were 484 cases of child mistreatment reported to health services,” said Lana Al Wreikat, speaking about the reported cases of violence against children.
A child protection hotline launched by the Ministry of Social Development (MOSD) to facilitate easy access, has received 330 cases, she revealed.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund has launched a number of initiatives to promote the well-being of children in Oman. One of these is child-friendly education, which has been piloted in 24 schools across the country.
“UNICEF is performing capacity-building initiatives to identify and protect children from violence. We are also working on communication strategies and social mobilisation programmes to promote positive parenting. We also have a major programme with the Ministry of Education, which is child-friendly education. We have piloted the programme in 24 schools,” Al Wreikat explained.
Al Wreikat stressed that the ministries are making efforts to completely eradicate it. “Violence against children in schools is prevalent. It is an issue that the Ministry of Education and the school management at a decentralised level are taking note of. There are a number of training and awareness modules. Solutions have been identified,” she noted.
For the rest of the year, they have a number of schemes in place to protect and preserve the rights of every child in the country. “The national nutrition survey was conducted in 2017, and the results will be launched in the first half of this year.
The survey will generate data to monitor the SDG [SD1] tool and produce multi-sectoral plans to address nutrition in schools. Further, in health facilities, it will be used to make sure information on nutrition is disseminated among the key rearing parties,” she added.
Another key area they will be focussing on is children with disabilities. “We worked with a number of line ministers and provided training, mainly with detection and early intervention. We are also working on reviewing some of the policies with the MOSD, and we are looking at a definition for disability that will enable us to carry out detailed surveys that will help us create effective solutions for children with disabilities,” she emphasised.