Domestic Violence in UAE: Reporting, Rights & Punishments in UAE

Domestic violence represents a pernicious form of abuse that violates the sanctity of the home and family unit. In the UAE, incidents of domestic violence involving assault, battery, and other abusive acts committed against spouses, children or other family members are treated with zero tolerance. The country’s legal framework provides clear reporting mechanisms and support services to protect victims, remove them from harmful environments, and safeguard their rights during the judicial process. At the same time, UAE laws prescribe stringent punishments for perpetrators of domestic violence offenses, ranging from fines and imprisonment to harsher sentences in cases involving aggravating factors.

This blog post examines the legislative provisions, victim rights, processes for reporting domestic violence, and the punitive measures under UAE’s laws aimed at deterring and combating this insidious societal issue.

How is Domestic Violence Defined Under UAE law?

The UAE has a comprehensive legal definition of domestic violence enshrined in Federal Law No. 10 of 2021 on Combating Domestic Violence. This law considers domestic violence as any act, threat of an act, omission or undue negligence that takes place within the family context.

More specifically, domestic violence under UAE law encompasses physical violence like assault, battery, injuries; psychological violence through insults, intimidation, threats; sexual violence including rape, harassment; deprivation of rights and freedoms; and financial abuse through controlling or misusing money/assets. These acts constitute domestic violence when perpetrated against family members such as spouses, parents, children, siblings or other relatives.

Notably, the UAE’s definition expands beyond spousal abuse to include violence against children, parents, domestic workers and others within the family context. It covers not just physical harm, but psychological, sexual, financial abuse and deprivation of rights as well. This comprehensive scope reflects the UAE’s holistic approach to combating domestic violence in all its insidious forms.

In adjudicating these cases, UAE courts examine factors like the degree of harm, patterns of behavior, power imbalances and evidence of controlling circumstances within the family unit.

Is Domestic Violence A Criminal Offense in UAE?

Yes, domestic violence is a criminal offense under UAE laws. The Federal Law No. 10 of 2021 on Combating Domestic Violence explicitly criminalizes acts of physical, psychological, sexual, financial abuse and deprivation of rights within familial contexts.

Perpetrators of domestic violence can face penalties ranging from fines and imprisonment to harsher punishments like deportation for expatriates, depending on factors such as the severity of the abuse, injuries caused, use of weapons, and other aggravating circumstances. The law also enables victims to seek protection orders, compensation and other legal remedies against their abusers.

How Can Victims Report Domestic Violence in The UAE?

The UAE provides multiple channels for victims to report incidents of domestic violence and seek assistance. The reporting process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Contact the Police: Victims can call 999 (police emergency number) or visit their nearest police station to file a report about the domestic violence incident(s). Police will initiate an investigation.
  2. Approach Family Prosecution: There are dedicated Family Prosecution sections within the Public Prosecution offices across the Emirates. Victims can directly approach these sections to report abuse.
  3. Use Violence Reporting App: The UAE has launched a domestic violence reporting app called “Voice of Woman” that allows discreet reporting with audio/visual evidence if needed.
  4. Contact Social Support Centers: Organizations like the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children provide shelters and support services. Victims can reach out to such centers for help in reporting.
  5. Seek Medical Assistance: Victims can visit government hospitals/clinics where medical staff are obligated to report suspected domestic violence cases to authorities.
  6. Involve Shelter Homes: The UAE has shelter homes (“Ewaa” centers) for domestic abuse victims. Staff at these facilities can guide victims through the reporting process.

In all cases, victims should try to document evidence like photographs, recordings, medical reports which can aid investigations. The UAE ensures protection against discrimination for those reporting domestic violence.

What are the dedicated domestic violence helpline numbers in different emirates?

Rather than having separate helplines for each emirate, the United Arab Emirates has one nationwide 24/7 hotline operated by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) to assist victims of domestic violence.

The universal helpline number to call is 800111, accessible from anywhere in the UAE. Calling this number connects you with trained personnel who can provide immediate support, consultations, and information about domestic violence situations and available services.

No matter which emirate you reside in, the DFWAC’s 800111 helpline is the go-to resource for reporting incidents, seeking guidance, or getting connected to domestic violence support. Their staff has expertise in handling these sensitive cases sensitively and can advise you on the next appropriate steps based on your circumstances. Do not hesitate to reach out to 800111 if you or someone you know is facing domestic abuse or violence at home. This dedicated hotline ensures victims across the UAE can access the help they need.

What Are The Types Of Abuse In A Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence takes many traumatic forms beyond just physical attacks. According to the UAE’s Family Protection Policy, domestic abuse encompasses various patterns of behavior used to gain power and control over an intimate partner or family member:

  1. Physical Abuse
    • Hitting, slapping, shoving, kicking or otherwise physically assaulting
    • Inflicting bodily injuries like bruises, fractures or burns
  2. Verbal Abuse
    • Constant insults, name-calling, belittling, and public humiliation
    • Yelling, screaming threats and intimidation tactics
  3. Psychological/Mental Abuse
    • Controlling behaviors like monitoring movements, limiting contacts
    • Emotional trauma through tactics like gaslighting or the silent treatment
  4. Sexual Abuse
    • Forced sexual activity or sexual acts without consent
    • Inflicting physical harm or violence during sex
  5. Technological Abuse
    • Hacking phones, emails or other accounts without permission
    • Using tracking apps or devices to monitor a partner’s movements
  6. Financial Abuse
    • Restricting access to funds, withholding money or means of financial independence
    • Sabotaging employment, damaging credit scores and economic resources
  7. Immigration Status Abuse
    • Withholding or destroying immigration documents like passports
    • Threats of deportation or harms to families back home
  8. Negligence
    • Failure to provide adequate food, shelter, medical care or other needs
    • Abandonment of children or dependent family members

The UAE’s comprehensive laws recognize domestic violence is more than physical – it’s a persistent pattern across multiple domains aimed at stripping away a victim’s rights, dignity and autonomy.

What Are The Punishments For Domestic Violence in UAE

The United Arab Emirates has adopted a strict stance against domestic violence, an unacceptable crime that gravely violates human rights and societal values. To combat this issue, the nation’s legislative framework imposes severe punitive measures on perpetrators found guilty of domestic abuse. The following details outline the penalties mandated for various offenses related to violence within households:

Domestic Violence (includes physical, psychological, sexual or economic abuse)Up to 6 months imprisonment and/or fine of AED 5,000
Violation of Protection Order3 to 6 months imprisonment and/or fine of AED 1,000 to AED 10,000
Violation of Protection Order with ViolenceIncreased penalties – details to be determined by the court (can be double the initial penalties)
Repeat Offense (domestic violence committed within 1 year of previous offense)Aggravated penalty by the court (details at court’s discretion)

Victims of domestic violence are encouraged to report the abuse and seek support from relevant authorities and organizations. The UAE provides resources such as shelters, counseling, and legal aid to assist those affected.

What Legal Rights Do Victims Of Domestic Violence Have in The UAE?

  1. Comprehensive legal definition of domestic violence under UAE Federal Law No. 10 of 2019, recognizing:
    • Physical abuse
    • Psychological abuse
    • Sexual abuse
    • Economic abuse
    • Threats of any such abuse by a family member
    • Ensuring legal protection for victims of non-physical forms of abuse
  2. Access to protection orders from the public prosecution, which can compel the abuser to:
    • Maintain distance from the victim
    • Stay away from the victim’s residence, workplace, or specified locations
    • Not damage the victim’s property
    • Allow the victim to safely retrieve their belongings
  3. Domestic violence treated as a criminal offense, with abusers facing:
    • Potential imprisonment
    • Fines
    • Severity of punishment depending on the nature and extent of abuse
    • Aimed at holding offenders accountable and acting as a deterrent
  4. Availability of support resources for victims, including:
    • Law enforcement agencies
    • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
    • Social welfare centers
    • Non-profit domestic violence support organizations
    • Services offered: emergency shelter, counseling, legal aid, and other support for rebuilding lives
  5. Legal right for victims to file complaints against their abusers with relevant authorities:
    • Police
    • Public prosecution office
    • Initiating legal proceedings and pursuit of justice
  6. Right to receive medical attention for injuries or health issues resulting from domestic violence, including:
    • Access to appropriate medical care
    • Right to have evidence of injuries documented by medical professionals for legal proceedings
  7. Access to legal representation and assistance from:
    • Public Prosecution office
    • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) providing legal aid services
    • Ensuring competent legal counsel to protect victims’ rights
  8. Confidentiality and privacy protection for victims’ cases and personal information
    • Preventing further harm or retaliation from the abuser
    • Ensuring victims feel secure in seeking help and pursuing legal action

It’s important for victims to be aware of these legal rights and seek assistance from the appropriate authorities and support organizations to ensure their safety and access to justice.

How Does UAE Handle Domestic Violence Cases Involving Children?

The United Arab Emirates has specific laws and measures in place to address domestic violence cases where children are victims. The Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 on Child Rights (Wadeema’s Law) criminalizes violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of children. When such cases are reported, law enforcement authorities are required to take actions to protect the child victim, including potentially removing them from the abusive situation and providing shelter/alternative care arrangements.

Under the Wadeema Law, those convicted of physically or psychologically abusing children can face imprisonment and fines. The exact penalties depend on the specifics and severity of the offense. The law also mandates providing support services to aid the child’s recovery and potential reintegration into society. This can include rehabilitation programs, counseling, legal aid, etc.

Entities like the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Child Protection Units under the Ministry of Interior are tasked with receiving reports, investigating cases and taking protective measures regarding child abuse and domestic violence against minors.

How A Local Specialized Lawyer Can Help

Navigating the legal system and ensuring one’s rights are fully protected can be challenging for victims of domestic violence, especially in complex cases. This is where engaging the services of a local lawyer specialized in handling domestic violence cases can prove invaluable. An experienced attorney well-versed in the UAE’s relevant laws can guide victims through the legal process, from filing complaints and securing protection orders to pursuing criminal charges against the abuser and claiming compensation. They can advocate for the victim’s interests, safeguard their confidentiality, and increase the chances of a favorable outcome by leveraging their expertise in domestic violence litigation. Additionally, a specialized lawyer can connect victims with appropriate support services and resources, providing a comprehensive approach to seeking justice and rehabilitation.

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