Abu Dhabi: Family disputes in the UAE are increasing yearly with domestic violence making up three to five per cent of total family dispute cases, a report by the official English monthly of the Ministry of Interior revealed.
Doctor Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al Hammadi, acting head of the Family Reformation Section of the Personal Status Department in Dubai Courts, said the number of family disputes are increasing by 20 per cent year on year in the Emirate.
He added the recorded cases are only those that are reported by families seeking reconciliation and reformation.
The exact statistics of domestic violence crimes are not available, because women and children seldom muster the willpower to report it and seek the support they need.
This month’s issue of 999 Magazine also shows that cases of domestic abuse in the country are highly linked to cultural and social factors.
A study from the Ministry of Interior’s Creativity and Leaders Development Centre, based on the 100 domestic violence cases reported to the Abu Dhabi Police Social Support Centre, reveals that 90 per cent of the aggressors are male and 90 per cent of the victims are female.
According to the statement, this is an indication that social factors, such as the dominant role given to males in society, actively play in this menace.
The same report shows that nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of the victims are wives, 16 per cent are children and 8 per cent are husbands.
Although domestic violence in the UAE has not become a phenomenon, authorities have been proactive in launching various initiatives to address the issue.
To combat the domestic violence problem, UAE authorities have been training female criminal investigators and have been setting up safe havens, such as the Comprehensive Protection Family Centre in Abu Dhabi, for battered women and children, encouraging them to come forward and report abuse.
In May this year, Abu Dhabi Police organised a conference titled, The Role of Family in Modern Society, which covered, among other subjects, the topic of domestic violence.
Lt Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, Editor-in-Chief of 999, said: “Domestic violence is a social menace that, though not yet a phenomenon in the UAE, is an issue that is treated seriously. Domestic violence takes the form of mental and physical assault on women and children; and in rare cases, men are also at the receiving end. Through increased awareness and support for victims, state and private agencies are working to repel this problem.”
The UAE laws safeguard child and women rights of care and protection inside and outside homes. Article 16 of the UAE Constitution calls for the provision of good, free care for both mother and child, as well as disabled people. Different laws in the UAE, including those on labour, penal code, and civil status penalise violence, abuse and ill-treatment. Furthermore, the country is working on more detailed and specialised laws to allow for better observation and penalty against perpetrators.