Dubai: A nationwide family database was launched on Monday linking all entities concerned with family protection, creating a unified system for reporting and receiving complaints on domestic violence and abuse against women, children, the elderly and people of determination.
The announcement, made by Hessa Bint Essa Buhamid, Minister of Community Development, follows the launch of the family protection policy by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in Cabinet in November.
The family protection policy was introduced as an effective mechanism to enhance unity and cohesion in the UAE community by providing laws to protect women, children, the elderly and people of determination from any kind of violence or abuse.
Buhamid said, “Let us all commit ourselves to the sayings of Shaikh Mohammad and lay emphasis upon the concepts of unity and cohesion in society, and regulate procedures and mechanisms of institutions specialising in (dealing with) domestic violence.
“We in the UAE do not tolerate any kind of violence towards children, elderly people or women. We also promise to support the nation, family and community members to enhance societal responsibility and boost family solidarity and cohesion, based on the positive reality of families in the UAE as well as laws, policies and initiatives stipulated in this regard.
“The family protection policy is an important initiative since it targets family and societal stability and coherence, regulates procedures and mechanisms of entities that are directly dealing with family protection, promotes the UAE directives to integrate roles between entities and partnership between all sectors to serve the community and unify the concepts of fighting violence and all its forms,” she added.
Forms of violence
The family protection policy defined various forms of violence: physical violence, verbal violence, psychological or moral violence, sexual violence, economic violence and neglect.
All parties involved in stipulating the policy, agreed to define family protection as “any abuse, violence or threat committed by a family member against any other family member or individual exceeding his guardianship, jurisdiction, authority or responsibility resulting in physical or psychological harm.”
The policy stipulates mechanisms for protection and intervention. One of them is the approval of the unified reports and complaints process, as well as damage assessment and rapid response to cases across the UAE to apply preliminary prevention and protection. This will be done as per best practice to ensure the integrity between all authorities to establish protection units and centres to receive protection cases and provide appropriate treatment.
The policy’s four pillars include; mechanisms for protection and intervention, development of legislation and laws, prevention and raising community awareness on domestic violence and standards for training of staff as well as studies, research and statistics to support family protection.
Buhamid said family proctection would also be included in the school curriculum as a specialty in humanities and psychological sciences.
Several policies such as the National Youth Agenda and Strategy 2015, the National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati Women 2015-2021, the National Policy for Empowering People of Determination 2017, the National Strategy for Motherhood and Childhood, the Plan to enhance People of Determination Rights 2017-2021, and the Family Stability Support Strategy and National Policy of Senior Emiratis, would all strengthen the new policy.
The four pillars
- Mechanisms for protection and intervention
- Development of legislation and laws
- Prevention and raising community awareness on domestic violence
- Standards for training of staff as well as studies, research and statistics
Vision: A stable and secure family life that guarantees the rights of all its members to ensure their interdependence and active participation in social life.
Message: Towards a social system that protects family members and preserves their entity and all their rights, thereby enhancing the role of the family and its active participation in community development, reflecting the complementarity of the positive partnership between the family and society.
Focus on the regulatory and legislative frameworks that govern relations between family members.
- Strengthen coordination mechanisms between family protection competent entities and related systems.
- Develop appropriate tools and channels for communication with protection centres.
- Upgrade the feasibility of programs and services aimed at protecting and rehabilitating family members if necessary.
- Expand studies and research on family protection and increasing their interdependence.
- Develop public awareness of the proper and fair ways of dealing with family members in a way that promotes tolerance culture.