Qatar: First shelter for domestic abuse victims

Gulf News via WUNRN
Qatar will soon have its first ever facility and shelter for women and children who are victims of abuse. Two facilities, a specialised centre for health and psychological treatment of victims and a shelter, will be set up.
"The centre will provide victims with medical and psychological care, legal assistance and refer them to the shelter, if needed," Farida Abdullah Al Obaidly, the head of the Qatar Foundation for Women and Children's Protection, told Gulf News.

"It will be the first time victims will receive all the services they will be able to file a police report to denounce the violence, receive medical care, legal consultancy, all at one place."

A committee of five experts is studying the implementation of the projects.

According to the data provided by the foundation, 21 women and 128 children reported cases of abuse to the foundation in 2004.

The figures increased to 178 cases involving women and 459 involving children in 2005 and 128 involving women and 90 involving children in the first six months of 2006.

Farida said the cases included not only sexual violence and harassment, physical abuse and psychological violence, but also lack of education and health care or financial distress.

"We categorised the cases as violence or abuses, but they have different causes. We must say that cases of sexual abuse are few if compared to cases of illiteracy for example."

She said the foundation is open to all victims, regardless of their nationality.

Such a centre where victims can report issues will help diminish stress, Farida said.

In addition, the authorities will be able to have a database on family abuse and violence in the country

"It is difficult to say how big the problem is, because victims either come to us or go to the hospitals or police. A better understanding of the ... problem would also help us to adopt the right strategies and awareness programmes."

The main challenge, Farida said, is to reach out to victims. "Many cases of abuse go unreported" as lots of women still hide domestic violence and are afraid or ashamed of disclosing their ordeal.

Cases of violence have been on the rise
  • The first six months of 2006 reported 128 cases of abuse against women and 90 against children.
  • In 2005, 178 cases involving women and 459 involving children were reported.
  • In 2004, the figures were lower with 21 cases involving women and 128 cases involving children.
By Barbara Bibbo', Correspondent
Published: 09/18/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)