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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

What are the rights of victims of domestic violence in the UAE? | Al Rowaad Advocate and Legal Counsel


Domestic violence is a serious problem that affects people all over the world, including in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Fortunately for the UAE, the government introduced a family protection policy in 2019 to cater to women, children, the elderly and people who are determined to protect them from any type of violence and abuse. The UAE government has laws in place to protect victims of domestic violence and provide them with various legal rights.

Article 3 of Federal Decree No. 10/2019 on the Protection of Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as all acts, remarks, abuse, mischief or threats committed by one family member against another family member beyond their guardianship, guardianship, support, power or liability and may result in physical, psychological, sexual or financial harm or abuse.

Further federal statute no. 10/2019, Article 5 lists acts that should be considered domestic violence, such as:

  • physical abuse: Refers to any physical injury inflicted on the victim’s body in any way, even if the injury leaves no traces.
  • psychological abuse: Refers to any behavior or statement that causes psychological harm to the abused person.
  • BDSM: Refers to any conduct that is deemed to be sexual assault or harassment, or that exploits the person who has been abused in any way.
  • financial abuse: Refers to any action that deprives the abused person of their rights or freedom to dispose of their money with the intent to cause harm to them.

In addition, UAE law provides certain legal rights to victims of domestic violence:

File a Complaint: Victims of domestic violence have the right to report the incident to the police. The UAE Criminal Procedure Code allows victims to initiate criminal proceedings against their abusers. Police are then asked to investigate the matter and take necessary action to ensure the safety of the victim.

Protection order: Victims of domestic violence have the right to apply to the court for a protective order. A protective order is a legal document that prohibits the abuser from touching or being near the victim. In the UAE, victims have the right to seek a protection order under Federal Decree No. 1. 10/2019 Article 6 stipulates that the public prosecution agency may issue a protection order automatically or upon the application of the victim, ordering the perpetrator to perform the following operations:

  1. Don’t hurt the person who is being abused.
  2. Do not approach a place established for the protection of a victim of abuse or any other place specified in a protection order.
  3. Do not harm the victim’s personal property or any family members.
  4. To enable the abused person or anyone entrusted by the abused person to obtain necessary personal items.
  5. Any other process that the Public Prosecution considers included in a protective order to provide effective protection to the person who was abused or anyone who may have been harmed by the relationship with the person who was abused.

Medical and Counseling: Victims of domestic violence also have the right to medical and counseling services. In the UAE, there are many hospitals and clinics that provide medical care to victims of domestic violence. Victims can seek counseling from a variety of sources, including the police, courts and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Legal representative: If victims of domestic violence decide to press charges against their perpetrators, they have the right to legal representation. The UAE Constitution guarantees the right to a fair trial, which includes the right to legal representation. Victims can choose to hire their own lawyer.

compensation: Victims of domestic violence have the right to seek compensation for any damage they have suffered as a result of the abuse. This may also include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, etc.

In summary, the UAE has laws in place to protect victims of domestic violence and provide them with various legal rights. Victims have the right to report the incident to the police, apply to the courts for a protection order against the abuser, access medical and counseling services, obtain legal representation, and seek compensation for damages. Victims of this type of domestic violence must know their rights and seek help if they experience domestic violence.


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