In line with international best practice, the Arabian Gulf countries have ratified the Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC), which has some clauses on child abuse and neglect. The present discourse, made from within an Arabian Gulf society, specifically Oman, reviews the socio-cultural differences of the region and explores the potential regional challenges for effectively implementing the CRC mandated child protection legislation. The international best practices evolved for individualistic, “guilt-based” societies, which may need to be modified to suit the “shame-based” collective societies in the Arabian Gulf where the individual autonomy is overridden by that of the family and society. This may mean that the entire spectrum of child abuse may need to be studied in-depth, starting from what constitutes child abuse and neglect, the methods adopted for identifying cases, setting preventive measures in place, applying penal and corrective action on the perpetrators, and helping the victims recover. It is posited that while modifying the laws may be straightforward, implementation of certain clauses may initially come into conflict with deeply engrained socio-cultural conventions on these societies which have different parenting styles and child-rearing practices. The country in focus is Oman. Pointing out the sparsity of research on the topic in the region, the study suggests additional research to understand how to reconcile these sociocultural constraints with the international best practices of protecting child rights.
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