Nearly 1,000 cases of abuse recorded against UAE women and children in 2018

Experts say victims need wide-ranging support

B0HND5 A silhouette of women wearing burqas outside a building, Saudi Arabia.
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Nearly 1,000 cases of abuse were recorded against women and children in the UAE last year, new figures have revealed.

Research found a total of 955 instances of domestic violence, human trafficking or abuse outside of the home in the nine months from January to September.

Of that number, the bulk of cases - 893 - related to domestic abuse, of which 33 per cent of victims were Emirati women or children.

More than 100 cases of child abuse were also recorded, with fathers of the victim being the “main abuser”.

Afra Al Basti, director general of the Dubai Foundation of Women and Children, a non-profit which seeks to assist women in need, said victims of abuse needed wide-ranging support.

“We help individuals rediscover skills and access community resources to improve their quality of life and reach their goals,” she said.

“It’s quite challenging for victims of violence and abuse to cope with the intense negative feelings that can plague them even after the abuse has ended.”

Ms Al Basti said DFWAC was continuing to work hard to address the issue of violence against women.

Over the nine-month time frame, researchers recorded 893 cases of domestic abuse, eight cases of human trafficking, 16 cases of suspected human trafficking and 38 cases of abuse against women outside of the home.

Ms Al Basti said the organisation’s care programmes included a focus on mental health, education and empowerment.

She noted that leaving violent relationships was never easy for victims, with women often feeling trapped and helpless.

But she urged anyone experiencing abuse to alert authorities, arguing enough professional support groups were in place to help.

“Women deserve to live a free of fear life,” she said. “It’s important women educate themselves about the effects of violence and learn coping strategies.”