Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
According to the DFWC annual report, 22 of 122 new in-patients at the foundation last year were domestic violence victims. Half the domestic violence patients were Emiratis, a 20 per cent increase from 2009.
Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National
According to the DFWC annual report, 22 of 122 new in-patients at the foundation last year were domestic violence victims. Half the domestic violence patients were Emiratis, a 20 per cent increase from 2009.

Domestic violence and divorce 'detrimental to children'

Experts from the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children conducted a workshop to train social workers from public schools on ways to handle problems students may have that stem from family issues.

DUBAI // Care experts yesterday emphasised the detrimental consequences that dysfunctional families often had on children.

Domestic violence and divorce were areas of particular concern, they said.

Citing an example, Dr Mona Al Bahar, the deputy chief executive of care and community services at the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWC), said the shelter once had a case in which a little girl was consistently aggressive, running around with a knife and tying her hands with rope.

"The young girl was witnessing how her parents were behaving and it affected her psychologically," Dr Al Bahar said.

Dr Al Bahar was speaking at a two-day workshop held by the foundation to train social workers from public schools how to handle problems that pupils may face, both academically and privately.

According to the DFWC annual report, 22 of 122 new in-patients at the foundation last year were domestic violence victims. Half the domestic violence patients were Emiratis, a 20 per cent increase from 2009.

This month alone, the foundation registered about 15 new cases, of which nine were related to domestic violence, Dr Al Bahar said.

However, domestic violence was only one of many areas of concern. Social workers from public schools said one of the biggest challenges they faced was counselling the children of divorced parents.

Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that the divorce rate between Emiratis last year stood at nearly 20 per cent; 15 divorce certificates were issued for every 75 marriage contracts.

Mariam Ali Butala Al Shehi, a social worker from the Um Romman girl's school in Sharjah, said that although each pupil handled divorce differently, many girls demonstrated eccentric behaviour.

"For example, in some cases, if the father figure is absent from the house, the daughter assumes the role of a male," Ms Al Shehi said. "By role, not as in the responsibilities, but as in the way they behave."

Ms Al Shehi said it was difficult to confront parents about these kinds of issues, especially when they did not observe the behaviour themselves.

"The girls act differently at home, so the parents refuse to believe that their daughter is behaving this way," Ms Al Shehi said.

However, through training programmes such as yesterday's workshop, Ms Al Shehi said that she hoped to learn techniques that would help her deal with domestic situations.

Meanwhile, Dr Al Bahar said the DFWC had recently been accepting male requests for help.

"We don't close our door to anyone, regardless of age, gender or race," she said. "Men call us telling us they are facing problems with their family, which ultimately means it's affecting their wives and children."

Dr Al Bahar said men were treated as outpatients so as not to disturb the women and children who were at the shelter.

Last month, the DFWC announced plans to conduct a study to discover the extent of domestic abuse and violence against children in the country.

More than 2,000 households across all seven emirates are expected to take part in the survey, which will be part of a larger global study being conducted by the United Nation's International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. The pilot survey will run in September.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Sarah Geronimo. Courtesy: FLASH Entertainment

Sarah Geronimo brings her star power to Abu Dhabi this weekend

Ahead of her Abu Dhabi concert on Thursday night, we take a look at the Filipina singer Sarah Geronimo’s extraordinary career.

 Fatema holds a picture of her son Nurul Karim as she poses for a photograph in front of her slum house in Savar. Fatema lost her son Nurul Karim and her daughter Arifa, who were working on the fifth floor of Rana Plaza when it collapsed on April 24, 2013. All photos Andrew Biraj / Reuters

These women know the real price of cheap high street fashion

Survivors of the world's worst garment factory accident, struggle to rebuild their lives from the rubble of the Rana Plaza collapse as Bangladesh prepares to mark the first anniversary of the disaster.

 Visitors look at the medieval inventor Al Jazari’s water-powered Elephant Clock. The clock is on show at the 1001 Inventions exhibition at Sharjah Expo Centre. Photos Antonie Robertson / The National

1001 Inventions: in praise of Islam’s gifts to the world

Down the centuries, from camera obscura to designing a sail that allowed early seafarers to tack into the wind, Muslim scientists have made many significant contributions to science. Rym Ghazal and Asmaa Al Hameli visit an exhibition in Sharjah that celebrates those contributions

 Mumbai Indians fans cheer they team on the opening match between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014 at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Earn cash back with the IPL cricket in the UAE

Dunia finance promotion allows cricket lovers to earn up to 6 per cent unlimited cash back on any spending they make on a day when an IPL match is played in the UAE.

 Iranian workers at the Iran Khodro auto plant in Tehran on March 18. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

Iran’s love of cars survives devastating sanctions

Sanctions and energy subsidy reductions might have hurt the Iranian automotive industry. But car makers at one factory are still optimistic, Yeganeh Salehi reports from Tehran

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

Disney confirms that Star Wars: Episode 7 is filming in Abu Dhabi desert

Disney yesterday confirmed that the filming of Star Wars: Episode 7 is taking place in the desert in Abu Dhabi.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National