x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Renewable marriage licences would curb abuse, expert says

Marriage licences should be renewed every five years, and specialised trainers should give couples a test before they are allowed to get married, a professor said yesterday.

ABU DHABI // Marriage licences should be renewed every five years, and specialised trainers should give couples a test before they are allowed to get married, a professor and TV host said yesterday. Such steps would reduce the risk of women and children becoming victims of domestic abuse, said Prof Tariq al Habeeb, a consultant and adviser psychiatrist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, at a Ministry of Interior forum.

"In GCC countries, why do we always ask for a medical test before marriage but never for a psychological test?" he said. Psychological, medical and government officials discussed what should be done to protect women and children's rights at the conference, including teaching women how to "accommodate" men to get them to behave better in family environments. Col Ali Singel, director of medical services at Dubai Police, said: "Enough with all the conferences and lectures, we need to start solving the problems.

"We are always taking from the West what does not benefit us; we should be assessing our own society and cases." He said his department has been dealing with more cases of family sexual abuse, so more legal protection is necessary. However, "before setting the law, we need to think what setbacks we will have and how we will face the challenges that will evolve. And [make sure] it is applicable to all the societies that live here."

Mr al Habeeb, who has his own show on Abu Dhabi TV, told the conference that new strategies should be considered to combat abuse. He said: "The wife has two babies, her children and her husband. Men are soft on the inside, but they like to appear strong and in control of the woman, so the woman should not try to step over him. She should show him that she is submissive and give him his rights, and indirectly she will get what she wants."

@Email:hdajani@thenational.ae