Parents to get 10 years in jail for child abuse

Abu Dhabi: The father and stepmother of a nine-year-old girl have been sentenced to 10 years in jail for torturing the child. The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court also ordered the parents to jointly pay Dh160,000 in compensation to the youngster, Naouf, who will be offered the maximum levels of physical and psychological care and rehabilitation to help her overcome the effects of her ordeal, according to officials.

The criminal court earlier heard the case of the girl who suffered horrific injuries. The paternal grandmother and uncles of the victim – who is being treated for burns, knife cuts and bruises over her body at Al Mafraq Hospital, gave statements against the father.

The grandmother told the court the youngster had been tortured at the hands of her father and stepmother.

“My son had taken his daughter to live with him four years ago and ever since she kept complaining about continuous abuse,” she said.

The father told the court if he had not disciplined his daughter, she would have committed sins.

“I saved her,” he said.

General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, called on people to take a stand against child abuse after visiting the girl.

Shaikh Mohammad, accompanied by his daughter, Shaikha Shamma, visited the critically ill child at Al Mafraq Hospital on April 5.

The Public Prosecution said the suspects deliberately caused several injuries to the victim, as a result of beating and caused burns using a heated knife and cigarette butts. They also hit her head against the wall, causing 80 per cent physical disability.

Abu Dhabi Police said the girl had been admitted to hospital by her father, who lived in Bani Yas, bleeding and suffering from burns, with knife cuts and bruises over her body. The victim’s father had initially told the police the youngster had fallen off her bicycle, but a medical examination confirmed she had been “severely abused”.

The father and stepmother were subsequently arrested by police. Shaikh Mohammad has asked the hospital to give close attention and care to the girl, who has been provided with a female police counsellor.

The ruling is subject to appeal within a month.

Aftercare: What next?

Nouf will be provided with the maximum levels of physical and psychological care and rehabilitation to help her overcome the effects of her ordeal, a senior official told media on Sunday.

Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Al Hosani, deputy director of the Social Support Department at the Interior Ministry, said a complete programme of social, psychological and educational care and support has been drawn up for Nouf and her family.

“Her grandmother, siblings, other family members, teachers will also receive social counselling to help them deal with Nouf. The aim is to help Nouf overcome the effects of her ordeal and lead a decent life,” he said.

Al Hosani urged members of the community to report any domestic violence as early as possible to minimise any damage. “Our social support centres welcomes proactive reporting of violence, which contravenes our traditional values,” he said.

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