Domestic Abuse in the UAE

Domestic Abuse in the UAE

Family Law – UAE and UK

In the arena of family law, there is often a poignant reality that touches the lives of many. As families or individuals confront the complexities of strained relationships and seek resolution, beneath this somber narrative also lies a distressing truth: the existence of domestic abuse. 

In the midst of societal pressures and personal challenges, families find themselves navigating treacherous waters, where the misery of abuse casts a shadow over their lives. It is a reminder of the urgent need for support, understanding and proactive measures to address this saddening issue. 

Domestic crimes apply to: husband, wife, children, grandchildren, step children, parents of either husband or wife, relatives via marriage, affiliation to the fourth degree and any person legally covered by the custody of an alternative family.  The UAE leads the charge in fostering a society that prioritizes the welfare of residents, recognising the importance to confront and counter domestic violence.  The UAE implemented Federal Law No.10/2019 concerning the prevention of domestic violence, offering legal safeguards for victims and outlining strategies to prevent and address such instances of violence.  Article 3 defined domestic violence as “any act or behavior that causes harm or physical, psychological, sexual or economic abuse or threat thereof committed by a family member against another family member.”

The legislation encompasses various measures to tackle domestic violence, including: counselling and rehabilitation for both victims and perpetrators; established shelters and hotlines for victims; educational campaigns aimed at raising awareness to prevent domestic violence and legal penalties for those who commit physical, emotional, sexual or economic abuse will be jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to AED 5,000 for violations. 

A perpetrator of domestic violence may also be prosecuted under Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021 on the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law.  Article 394 states “any person who, due to his fault, inflicts bodily harm to another person shall be liable to a jail sentence for a period not exceeding one (1) year and a fine not exceeding AED ten thousand (10,000) or either one of these two penalties”. 

Previously, domestic violence often went unreported in the UAE due to social norms and customs, resulting in many cases remaining undisclosed. However, since the implementation of Federal Law and the support provided by the UAE, more victims are now stepping forward to report their abuse. 

The UAE also launched the Family Protection Policy with the aim of protecting women, children, elderly and people of determination from abuse and exploitation by other family members.  Any abuse can be reported through the UAE’s Ministry of Community Development (MCD).

If you or anyone you know is facing domestic violence in the UAE, you can call 800623 or 0561776832 or email

For further advice in relation to domestic violence or any family matter, please contact our family law department.