The issue of domestic violence is universal, and the UAE has taken bold steps to combat this issue. In this connection, the Federal Decree-Law No. 10/2019 On the Protection from Domestic Violence (Domestic Violence Law) has been issued to fight against domestic violence, protect privacy of life and correct behaviors which are harmful to the family.
What is Domestic Violence?
The Domestic Violence Law has defined domestic violence under Article 3 as follows.
"...domestic violence shall mean every action, utterance, abuse, mischief or threat committed by a family member against another family member, surpassing his custody, guardianship, support, power or responsibility and may result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm or abuse."
A family is deemed to include the husband, wife, children, grandchildren, children of either spouse from another marriage, father and mother of either spouse, amongst others.
According to Article 5 of the Domestic Violence Law, actions which will be deemed as domestic violence include physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse and economic abuse.
Protection Order Against the Abused
One of the key provisions introduced under the Domestic Violence Law is the power given to the public prosecutor to issue a protection order or a restraining order against the abused.
Under Article 6 of the Domestic Violence Law, the public prosecutor may, either on its own or on an application of the abused person, issue a protection order, which will order the abused to the do the following.
- Not to harm the abused person.
- Not to approach the places established for the protection of the abused person or any other place stated in the protection order.
- Not to harm the personal properties or any family member of the abused person.
- Allow the abused person or other person authorized to receive his necessary personal effects.
- Any other procedures that the Public Prosecution thinks to include in the protection order that may provide effective protection to the abused person or any person who would possibly be harmed due to his relation with the abused person.
The protection order will be issued for 30 days, which can be extended for two similar periods of not more than 60 days. Any further extension would need to be issued by a competent court under Article 7.
Violation of the protection order could result in imprisonment of the violator to maximum 3 months and / or pay fine ranging between AED 1,000 to AED 10,000. If the protection order is violated by violence against another person, the penalties imposed would be stricter.
Consequences of Domestic Violence
Under the Domestic Violence Law, any person who commits domestic violence actions will be liable for penalties. The penalties include imprisonment for not more than 6 months and / or fine up to AED 5,000. These penalties are without prejudice to any harsher penalties that are prescribed in any other law. It should be noted that if the perpetrator commits any domestic violence action within 1 year from a previous action, the penalty will be aggravated by the court.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.