UAE | Crime

Neglect of children is most common form of abuse in UAE

Research shows fathers are main perpetrators within families

  • By Noorhan Barakat, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 21:15 July 25, 2012

Picture for illustrative purposes only
  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • A new study into child abuse in the UAE has found 42 per cent of children suffer neglect while over 25 per cent are victims of violence at home. Image for illustrative purposes only.

Dubai A new study into child abuse in the UAE has found 42 per cent of children suffer neglect while over 25 per cent are victims of violence at home.

The findings are a result of comprehensive research carried out by Dr Ahmad Falah Al Omosh, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Sharjah.

We need to educate families about the dangers of neglect. If we can get the number of neglect abuse cases down, it is expected the number of physical abuse cases will go down too

Dr Ahmad Falah Al Omosh

Tragically one child recounted how she feels she was “born to be beaten”.

While 3.1 per cent revealed they had been victims of sexual abuse, 17.6 per cent said they had been exposed to pornographic movies.

Dr Omosh told Gulf News: “The next step is to do a bigger follow-up study focusing on the abuse of neglect as it is the biggest issue, with the highest numbers.

”We need to educate families about the dangers of neglect.”

“If we can get the number of neglect abuse cases down, it is expected the number of physical abuse cases will go down too.”


Dr Omosh aims to raise awareness on the issue across the UAE so that steps can be taken to prevent such abuse.

The study investigated children’s perceptions of violence in society and the types of violence children experience, be it physical, sexual, emotional or neglect.

They gave 193 seventh grade students from across Sharjah’s public schools a questionnaire to complete with responses coming from 66 males and 127 females. The average age of children, all Emirati, participating in the study was between 12 and 13.

During interviews, 39.9 per cent interviewed revealed they are regularly threatened, 21 per cent said their hair is pulled and 3.1 per cent said they are beaten with a hard object — these acts of violence were in response to children misbehaving.

One per cent of children said they are slapped, 9.8 per cent spoke of regular verbal abuse while 4.7 per cent are locked up in their rooms. Meanwhile, 10.5 per cent claim they were beaten with a hard object for returning home late.

The study also found that within a family, 36.3 per cent believe the father is the most common abuser, 20.2 per cent indicate the brother and 14 per cent feel the mother is the main source of abuse.

Some 22.3 per cent of children also said they  had witnessed sexual abuse in their neighbourhoods and 10.9 per cent in school.

Dr Omosh said: “The figures for sexual abuse are there, but they are not alarming in comparison to other countries, as there is always a percentage of sexual abuse.” 

The academic has now called for a similar study across Arab countries to study the trend of violence against children.

Comments (2)

  1. Added 16:57 July 26, 2012

    Like physical or mental abuse neglecting your child is also a kind of abuse. No matter if you serve best of the world to your child, provide all the luxuries but if you are neglecting or not giving your quality time to your child, this all is a waste. All the children need proper time from their parents schedule so that they can share their matters and can develop friendly bond with the parents, Moreover scolding, objecting or beating all the time will distant the child, carelessness towards the child always make situations worse and weak between parents and the child. Additionally I will say one more thing neglected child can feel unwanted and lonely and this is the time when he or she can fall prey to a bad company or under peer pressure. The relationship between you and your child should be healthy and happy, Parents must provide their child the freedom to share and express their views but in a disciplinary manner.

    Ms. Renu Kala, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:08 July 26, 2012

    We are taught all the different mathematical and physics and chemistry formulas at school that most of us are most probaby never gonna use or need, we learn about history, we learn about the grammar, we learn about everything at school except about life, marriage and kids. We are not given any training on real life. When I was in school at least there was some homemaking training, and that is not even offered anymore in most places. Kids graduate from high school with zero knowledge about real life, they go on to college where they also dont have time to learn anything about real life because they are so concernred with their degree and career, then come marriage, kids, and the now adults still arent prepared for this. Had there been compulsary training on marriage, relationships and kids, I strongly believe there would be less divorce, less abuse, less neglect (which is a form of abuse). There are less family values these days if any. All the guys wanna do is go out and have fun, all the gals wanna do is go out and have fun, everybody is so concerned about material things that the value of family, relationships with family, kids has come close to a zero. When many couples marry they come to an unpleasant surprise and for many family becomes a burden. I have seen it with many. MAjority are unprepared for married life and dont know how to deal with it, many use the means they learned when growing up. I strongly believe and hope for a compulsory and strong family preparation programme to be in place in schools and colleges. I also believe there should be a compulsory prior marriage training of some sort as well as compulosry pregnancy training, as well as growing up training at different stages of childrens lives to educate the future husbands and wives and parents about what real life is as a married couple and as parents as well as to teach them how to cope with problems that may a rise and to simply hpw to improve and have a healthy relationship with each other. Some people are simply less adaptive than others, some are less motivational, but all are unprepared.

    Yana, Dubai, United Arab Emirates