Dubai - Platform to report domestic abuse to be set up in UAE

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The policy has been issued by the Cabinet to protect families, children and people of determination.

A common platform to report domestic abuse will be set up in the country, it was announced on Monday, December 16. This came as the Ministry of Community Development unveiled initiatives under the 'family protection policy' that was approved by the UAE Cabinet on November 11.

Initiatives include a unified database for family protection services, family protection in all university specialities in humanities and psychological sciences, conduct surveys and studies and apply preliminary protection standards. 

Minister of Community Development Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid said a notable pillar of the family protection policy is that it will also issue a specilised law and strategy.

The minister told Al Khaleej Today: "The policy has been issued by the Cabinet to protect families, children and people of determination. The Cabinet has approved a three-year plan, and we work in conjunction with various federal and local government bodies. We report back to the Cabinet every quarter."

Other entities that the ministry will work with to implement the policy include Ministry of Interior, General Women's Union, Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi, Community Development Authority in , Social Services Department in Sharjah, Dubai Foundation for Women and Children and the media.

Protection for victims 

According to the minister, the policy has clearly defined various forms of violence: Physical, verbal, psychological or moral, sexual, economic 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 has devised precise mechanisms for protection and intervention through a complaint system. "This will be done by establishing a unified reporting and complaints process, damage assessment and rapid response to different cases all over the UAE." 

Preliminary prevention and protection standards will be applied to ensure cohesion between all competent authorities: Courts, public prosecutions, hospitals, etc. 

The ministry will establish protection units with social and psychological protection specialists, family protection centre and a specialised centre to receive and shelter cases. It will provide the necessary services and set an appropriate treatment plan for each case to help them solve their problems.

"The priority is to re-home victims back with their families after they have spent time in the shelter. Most victims spend a day or two in the facility. There is already a large shelter facility that has been set up in Dubai," the minister said. "In some cases, shelter is provided to expatriates as well. This is practised across all the Emirates."

Pillars of the policy 

>Laws and legislations

-Drafting a family protection law

-Federal legislation regulating family protection cases

-Preparing a family protection strategy to include indicators targeting family bonding in the community.

>Protection and intervention mechanisms

>Studies, research and statistics

>Prevention and community awareness

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Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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