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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

UAE tackles high divorce rate with family counselling service

The Taalouf initiative is one of many that seek to resolve marital issues in the UAE

A counselling service to resolve family disputes and reduce the country’s high divorce rate was launched by the Ministry of Community Development on Sunday.

The service is one of many that seek to resolve marital issues in the UAE, where one in three couples divorce within the first year of marriage.

The Taalouf initiative is a “family counselling service provided through a variety of private channels that guarantee confidentiality to resolve family disputes, offer guidance to married couples, and ensure family cohesion”, reported state news agency Wam.

Emirati psychologist, Dr Naser Al Riyami, said the UAE’s high divorce rate was likely a result of rushed decisions made by young people who feel pressured to get married.

“Divorce is a universal phenomenon which is becoming an increasing problem in this country,” he said.

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“Family counselling services are particularly important to help resolve problems before divorce happens. Many times couples just need to be heard to learn good communication skills and impartial professional to guide them.”

The Ministry’s undersecretary, Sana Suhail, praised the local government entities that contributed to the launch that include the Islamic affairs authority in Dubai and Ajman, the courts, Dubai Foundation of Women and Children and the Ministry of Interior Social Support Centre in Umm Al Quwain.

She said the service aims to “help people achieve harmony in their individual and family lives, strengthen emotional bonds within the family, reduce the divorce rate in the country, prevent problems occurring in dysfunctional families, and address tension and alienation between spouses.”

Waheeda Hassan, director of the Family Development Department at the Ministry, said family guidance is an integral part of building stable UAE families and a holistic process that requires the contribution of multiple entities.