May 1, 2018

Domestic Violence is Widely Rejected in the UAE – Study

Dubai, May 2018- Domestic violence is not acceptable in the Emirati society as people are well aware of its harmful impact and the need to enforce intensified laws to curb its prevalence, Dubai Foundation for Women and Children said.

Commissioned by Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) and executed by Addaera Research & Polls Centre, a survey measuring the level of awareness about domestic violence in the UAE reported that 72% of respondents look at domestic violence as an unacceptable behavior, while 82% know what domestic violence is and can identify it when it takes place.

The field survey included 1196 respondents aged 15 – 60 years from across the UAE and aimed to assess the level of awareness about domestic violence in the Emirati society.

The questionnaire was designed to explore to what extent people can tolerate domestic violence and if they find current laws sufficient.

H.E. Afra Al Basti, Director General of DFWAC, said the survey served as a weighing scale of domestic violence in the Emirati society, its drivers and growth track, to help develop a good prevention strategy against its social damaging impact.

“Exploratory studies are needed for proactive action. All types of domestic violence lead to social disintegration, and this survey reveals the scope of domestic violence in the UAE so we can take the necessary procedures to maintain a healthy family environment; which is key to social stability,” Al Basti added.

Meanwhile, Hana Lootah, CEO of Addaera Research & Polls Centre, stressed the efforts exerted by the UAE government to promote civil, social and humanitarian rights for everyone in the society.

“Many governmental and non-governmental institutions address domestic violence in the UAE, however there is still an urgent need for more accurate statistics to find more sufficient solutions or enforce new stricter laws to stop domestic violence,” Lootah said.

Results of the survey stated that sources of information on domestic violence vary among respondents who expressed their expansive or limited knowledge about the issue. Both traditional and new media are the main source of information as television makes 71% of respondents’ choices, internet websites 58%, social media platforms 49%, newspapers and magazines 49%.

52% of respondents refused to consider domestic violence as a private family matter that third parties shouldn’t interfere within.

Research indicated that 31% of respondents are highly concerned over the prevalence of domestic violence in the UAE and 45% are somehow concerned.

58% of total respondents didn’t witness any domestic violence case in the UAE, while 42% said they know a victim of domestic violence.

22% of respondents mentioned that wife is the most affected victim of domestic violence; 15% said daughter, 12% pointed out son, 9% female domestic worker and 7% mother. Husband was believed to be the main abuser according to 27% of respondents, father 16% and wife 10%.

According to responses identifying domestic violence causes, 53% chose all options mentioned in the multiple choice question including family burdens and responsibilities, high cost of living and inability to meet family needs, tolerance with verbal, physical and emotional abuse among family members, drug abuse, etc.

People who took part in the survey show different reactions to domestic violence incidents. 23% said they would simultaneously interfere to protect the victim. 19% opt to urge victims to seek assistance from respective family care organizations.

41% of respondents chose domestic violence organizations as prime resort for victims. Relatives are also recommended by 31%, followed by police at 26%.

The majority of respondents, 81%, believed that specialized family care organizations should be given more authorities to be capable of addressing domestic violence cases efficiently prior to legal escalation.

84% of respondents agreed that a new legislation should be introduced and ratified to combat domestic violence more efficiently; as 30% of total respondents believed that current laws can prevent domestic violence. 35% found them somehow sufficient, while 12% thought they were totally insufficient.

“Current laws should be revised and intensified, as domestic violence victims and witnesses are recommended to report cases to help vulnerable get the support they deserve and be provided with rehabilitation opportunities to overcome their ordeal,” Lootah said.

Stratified random sampling had been adopted in this study. The sample consisted of respondents from across the UAE including Emiratis and non-Emirati residents; 32.9% from Abu Dhabi, 27.6% from Dubai and 18.1% from Sharjah, with respondents from other emirates composing the remaining percentage.