Jihene Arfaoui, Legal Assistant

Morally and cognitively, developed societies strive to eliminate all kinds of crimes and excluding them from the circle of interactions between all groups of society, especially the family.

The family is the fundamental core of all peoples; it may be basis of growth and progress and may be the basis of decline and devastation.

Therefore, the issuance of special legislation to protect the family is a very essential matter stemming from the deterrence and protection dualism.

Accordingly, on 29 August 2019, the President of the United Arab Emirates issued Federal Law No. (10) of the Year 2019 concerning Protection Against Domestic Violence (hereinafter, the “Law”). The Law will come into effect from the date to be determined by the UAE Council of Ministers’ decision.

The Law contains 13 articles that includes the Law’s objetives, the concept of violence,  penalties, and settlements. The provisions of the Law shall apply to domestic violence crimes committed by a family member against another member of his family, whether he is from the immediate or branch or relatives by lineage or marriage to the fourth degree, or from persons covered by alternative family custody.

This Law has been issued to protect the family and deter all harmful practices against the family that affects the physical state, integrity and mental health of the family, women, and children.

Violence is not only physical

The Law not only criminalizes physical violence, but also has set out three other categories that have been added to physical violence, namely: psychological, sexual and economic abuse. The link between these three types is the consequence and effect of violent action, which results in moral, physical, material or sexual harm. Any of these causes a person to feel unsafe and insecure and his/ her psychological and mental state exposed to constant danger.

The Role of the Public Prosecution

The Law gave the Public Prosecution the power to issue a protection order on its own or based on the victim’s request to deter violent action and protect the victim’s body, well-being and economic status.

The Law has provided protection measures to be issued by the Public Prosecution when needed such as preventing approach or entry to the places designated for victim’s protection or any places mentioned in the protection order that has specified for a minimum of thirty days and a maximum of sixty days.

Penalty or Conciliation

The provisions of the Law covers the principle of punishment for the commission of the criminal offense and the principle of tolerance and reconciliation to allow family members to restore their relationship.

The penalty in this Law ranged from imprisonment for a period of three to six months and a fine between 1,000 and 10,000 AED, if the offender violated the protection order issued by the Public Prosecution, or if it commits any of the criminal acts stipulated in the decree.

The Law also referred to the provisions of UAE Penal Code of 1987, and doubled the penalty if the offender repeated an act of family violence within one year.

As for conciliation, the Law referred to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law No. 35 of the Year 1992 within the chapter of the penal reform, which provides for the amicable termination of the conflict and the end of the criminal lawsuit or ceasing the implementation of the issued judgment.

Therefore, it is clear that this Law reflects the development of the legal system in the United Arab Emirates to emphasize the importance of all segments of society and their equality before the law. It also preserves the social fabric by putting an end to violence in the private sphere as it is the case with the public sphere.