Maha Almuneef, MD, FAAP, a child protectionist and child rights advocate, is a pediatrician and Consultant on Pediatrics Infectious Diseases, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics , involved in national implementation of CRC Article 19. She is the founder and Executive Director of the National Family Safety Program in Saudi Arabia, chairman of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Centre at King Abdulaziz Medical City. Her achievements transcend locality, in 2011 she was appointed as a Councillor for the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), and in 2013 she was elected as the President of the Arab Professional society for Prevention of Violence Against Children (APSPVAC). Dr. Almuneef is also a consultant to the Saudi Parliament, Al-Shoura Council since 2009, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics in King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences. She received many national and international awards for her work against child abuse and domestic violence. She has many peer-reviewed publications in the field of pediatrics, infectious diseases, and child abuse.
Addressing Child Abuse and Neglect in Arab Societies
In the Arab Societies, research about child maltreatment is scarce, and available research shows that CAN is common and underreported. In the era of the Arabian spring and the current armed conflict in many Arab countries (Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Gaza ), many Arab children are living under difficult circumstances, many in refugee camps. Different forms of child maltreatments are prevalent in different countries in the middle east and north Africa (MENA) region. I will give a brief statistics on female genital mutilation (FGM), child labor, street children, trafficking, child marriage, and corporal punishment among different Arab countries. I will present data on child maltreatment notably child sexual abuse from Saudi Arabia using the ISPCAN child abuse screening tool for children (ICAST-CH). Data from the national Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study in Saudi Arabia will also be presented as a model for the region.