Muslim single-mothers are vulnerable to abuse and neglect, the authors of a new report argue.
A new report from the National Commission for Women (NCW) has recommended legislation, as well as training for social workers, to protect the rights of Muslim single women.
The NCW has recommended that the Government introduce legislation on social workers and mental health professionals to help ensure that single mothers do not suffer abuse or neglect, and that they are protected from discrimination.
“Social workers and social workers-in-training should be trained to provide mental health support for Muslim women and men,” said Ravi Jain, president of the NCW, who chaired the panel on Muslim single motherhood.
The report also proposes that all child support orders be revised to ensure that children are not neglected.
“We are talking about children who are still young, who are in foster care, and they are often being raised by non-Muslims,” said Jain.
The recommendations include a requirement that Muslim women be protected from the use of abusive language and abusive behaviour towards their children, and also for social and psychological support for them, including education and training.
The Government must also provide specialised social services to help Muslim women through their childbearing years.
The report calls for better provision of services for Muslim mothers in Muslim-majority communities.
The government should also establish specialised agencies to support Muslim women in the labour market, and provide social assistance for women who work as labourers in the country, said Jaiyya, the lead author of the report.
“This is a problem of poverty, not social injustice,” she added.
According to the report, the use and abuse of religion by nonreligious groups is on the rise, particularly in Muslim communities.
Muslim women have the highest rates of unemployment among all religious groups.
In its report, NCW also recommended that a specialised agency for child welfare and social work be established in Muslim women’s neighbourhoods to ensure better provision to support them during their child-rearing years.
“Child welfare needs to be provided in Muslim neighbourhoods and other areas that are Muslim-dominated,” Jain said.
“It needs to include all Muslim women.
It also needs to provide them the right support from non-Muslim community.”