Abu Dhabi residents to be asked about domestic violence and debt in major family life survey

The government poll will seek to understand social problems and attitudes to inform policy

Guests attend the unveiling of a 2018 survey by the Department of Community Development into quality of life on January 22, 2019. The new survey will focus on hard-hitting topics including debt, domestic violence and harassment in the workplace. Victor Besa / The National
Guests attend the unveiling of a 2018 survey by the Department of Community Development into quality of life on January 22, 2019. The new survey will focus on hard-hitting topics including debt, domestic violence and harassment in the workplace. Victor Besa / The National

Abu Dhabi residents will be asked about domestic violence, financial debt and views on polygamy in one of the biggest studies of family life to date.

Emiratis and expatriates are being urged to give honest assessments of eating habits, alcohol and tobacco use and whether they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Department of Community Development will also seek to build up a picture of education levels, how much time parents spend with children and attitudes towards life after divorce. The exercise also focuses on how willing residents in the capital are to volunteer and help their community and if they feel gender equality has come far enough.

We will not move forward and develop without research and we need to keep away from the 'he said, she said'

Dr Mugheer Al Khaili

"Society is in constant development and we want to promote what is positive and tackle and find solutions to what is negative,” said Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of the Department of Community Development.

The online survey in English or Arabic takes about 15 minutes to complete and takes users through multiple choice questions.

The questions cover everything from the language spoken at home, wearing national dress and views on marrying people of other nationalities.

Hard-hitting sections ask if residents know of people who have taken drugs, have relatives in prison and whether they experience loneliness and isolation.

The Family Exploratory Study 2019 is being undertaken with the Family Development Foundation and follows a poll last year that 51,000 people responded to.

It focused on personal safety and general happiness, which residents rated as high, while finding room for improvement in how senior citizens and people with disabilities are provided for.

At the launch on Tuesday, officials urged residents to take a few minutes of their day to take part.

Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of Abu Dhabi's new Department of Community Development, said the new scheme was part of efforts from the emirate's leadership to provide a better lifestyle for Emiratis. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of Abu Dhabi's new Department of Community Development, said the new scheme was part of efforts from the emirate's leadership to provide a better lifestyle for Emiratis. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

We ask every member of society to take the time to participate in this survey for their benefit and the benefit of society," said Dr Al Khaili.

While there are some similarities between the previous survey, the latest is geared towards family life and societal problems.

“The recent quality of life questionnaire showed there was a problem with debt, so now we need to do a deeper study into debts and find solutions," he said.“The aim of the questionnaire as well as this survey is to pinpoint the challenges that the UAE society and families specifically face.”

The department has already sought to act on the findings of the previous survey. The intention is that other authorities act on the pros and cons to come out of the results.

“We came out with a policy and a strategy for people of determination, as well as debt, which is awaiting approval from the government," said Dr Al Khaili.

“We will deliver."

Measures have also been put in place to help people with special needs and low income families.

Dr Al Khaili said too many societal debates are had without proper facts.

“I firmly believe in the importance of research and fact based decisions," said Dr Al Khaili.

“We will not move forward and develop without research and we need to keep away from the 'he said, she said'."

And he also hit at out rumours and ill-informed conversation on social media.

"Unfounded allegations could have disastrous effects on an individual and society," he said.

The questionnaire is available in English and Arabic and can be found here: http://bit.ly/2GcTmlR

Published: September 25, 2019 08:00 AM

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