x

Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 April 2018

Female crime in Dubai on the rise but experts unsure of reasons behind it

Experts agree that more crimes in Dubai are being committed by women but a lack of research means an answer as to why remains ellusive.

DUBAI // The number of crimes committed by women is increasing but still lags a long way behind those committed by men, experts said.

Lama Younis, a criminologist, forensic psychologist and founder of Hissah Enrichment Centre, said there had been a recent increase in the number of women committing crimes, which went against the norm when it came to gender roles.

“The social construction of gender roles has much to do with males and violence. In most cultures, masculine characteristics – being assertive, ambitious, independent and tough – are associated with more violent behaviour,” she said.

“Boys are socialised from a young age to be ‘real men’ and not to display emotions, while girls are socialised to be more relationship-orientated, weak and emotional.”

Statistics from Dubai Courts show that 149 women stood trial in 129 cases at Dubai Criminal Court last year, a fraction of the 105,003 cases heard at the criminal and misdemeanour courts that year.

Of these women, the largest number from one profession to stand trial were housemaids, at 42. Of the remainder, 28 were tourists, 23 were employees and 17 were housewives.

The number of female drug mules was rising, said Dubai prosecutor Ahmad Al Attar, but the numbers were still a fraction of those for men. “This increase may be a result of people taking advantage of women’s poor financial conditions or health problems,” he said.

Abortion among domestic workers as a result of illicit relationships was also on the rise, he said.

Mr Al Attar said that theft was the most common offence among domestic workers and that few prostitution cases came to court because 95 per cent of women arrested were deported immediately.

Roqaia Al Raisi, a social specialist and family guidance researcher, said it was difficult to understand the disparity between the number of men and women committing crimes.

“Women have the same tendency for delinquency as men, but their self-control is higher,” she said. “Yet, a woman is more emotional and passionate and therefore, if driven by circumstances and a lack of support and guidance, she could commit horrible crimes.”

There are extreme examples of women committing crime, such as last year, when an Emirati woman was convicted of murdering her maid, while another Emirati woman starved her maid to death.

Two Pakistani women were charged in two separate incidents with assault that lead to death. In one, the victim was a two-year-old and, in the other, the victim was her husband.

Last year, women were involved in 41 drug cases in ­Dubai, 20 of whom were charged with taking drugs and the rest for smuggling and possession to sell. Only two of these women were Emirati.

salamir@thenational.ae