//Cases of child abuse by maids on the rise

Cases of child abuse by maids on the rise

ABU DHABI — Working parents of younger children are getting fidgety than ever before to hire housemaids as more and more cases of child abuse involving them are surfacing in the media.

Many young parents whom this reporter spoke to noted that the level of trust in housemaids and babysitters is at an all-time low, and that they are seriously considering installing hidden cameras at homes to rule out mishaps. Stories about housemaids ill-treating kids as small as one-year-olds, they said, are sending shivers down their spines as they have to leave their little ones under the care of housemaids out of compulsion.

"I think some of the recent stories that appeared in the local newspapers have opened the eyes of many parents who blindly trust their housemaids. Now the issue is in the public’s conscience and all concerned are keen to take precautionary measures," remarked Anusha, mother of two-year-old Karunya  According to her, she and her husband are seriously planning to have a camera installed to watch the movements of the Sri Lankan maid they have hired recently. "Our friends also advise the same as she is quite new and we don’t know much about her," added Anusha who is a receptionist in an electrical firm.

Bhavana and Chandran, a Keralite working couple spoke in the same vein when they noted that prevention is better than cure. "We all know that law and order is most efficient here and police is just a dial away. But why look for cure after inviting danger?" asked Bhavana, an accounts assistant who has a three-year-old daughter. Chandran on his part has a piece of advice for all parents: ”The passport copy of the housemaid, even if she is part-time, should be kept with the employer. In case she runs away, we should have some documents to file a police case." Chandran is a chartered accountant .

Julian, a mother of two boys from Mumbai is of the opinion that leaving a child old enough to express its feelings with a babysitter or housemaid is comparatively safe. "While I was working in Dubai two years back, I used to leave my both kids with a babysitter. It was only through my eldest son, then six years old, that I came to know that the lady was locking up the younger one in the toilet when she did some mischief.”

Meanwhile, many expressed concern that the corporate world or the government authorities are not coming up with any suggestion that will solve the headache for the working parents. "There are many government bodies and huge companies that have a significant number of women on the workforce. If they can set up a babysitting service for its staff, I think all would happily lap up the offer. And it need not be a free service at all as we don’t mind paying reasonable amounts for this reliable and quality option," opined Thanu and Mercy, both nurses at a government hospital.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2006/February/theuae_
February280.xml&section=theuae