He said that unfortunately some people have some misunderstandings about the real services and roles of Aman. For instance it cannot handle certain issues because they fall out of its jurisdiction even though they are family related. Such issues could be a subject of legal disputes, involve some matter that has to be tackled by a security department or even concern drugs and narcotics abuse.
The official recalled that within the recent few years 350,000 persons benefited from Aman's services, while it offered more than 50,000 related services and consultations, and the hotline responded to 177,000 calls, which indicate the immense efforts exerted by the staff given that it has only 160 employees. However, he pointed out that it is estimated that only 5% of the victims of family violence, especially women, report it due to the traditional constraints.
Al-Ishaq stressed that Aman offers its services completely free of charge to whoever seeks its support, regardless of the nationality or legal status of residency in the country. Besides the hotline 919, it has seven offices at various key government, legal and security offices across the country in addition to a website and social media platforms.
The recent figures indicate that Aman handled 5,000 new cases and there are 300 individuals who remain in rescue houses, all victims of various types of family violence. There are plans to increase the branches and offices of Aman to reach out to more people. Meanwhile, it will have closer co-operation with various related entities, including the security and legal entities and the Shura Council to handle the involved common issues, the official added.
Dr Sherifa al-Emadi, executive director of Doha International Family Institute (Difi), explained there are other forms of family violence other than the physical violence and it affects all, but the impact of violence is much greater on girls than women and other members of the family. There are some cases who complain of the violence of the mother, the elder sister or the mother-in-law. Quoting from a survey conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Difi official said that 45% of the child participants out of a sample of a little over 1,000, had reported that their family members and parents fiercely argue with each other. About 30% of them said that when their parents argue they often beat each other.
A similar survey, carried out after the pandemic broke out, showed that the Covid-19 restrictions considerably increased the intensity of family disputes while differences also escalated. According to the National Development Strategy report in 2016, 614 cases reported family violence.
Dr al-Emadi said that Difi is almost done preparing a draft law on family violence in co-operation with the Ministry of Justice, besides a joint project with the Ministry of Public Health for reporting family violence. Dr Reem al-Ansari, CEO of Al-Ansari and Associates Law Firm said that even though there is no dedicated law in Qatar for family violence issues, the articles of the Qatari constitution have made women and men equal in right and duties, and the Qatari penal code have addressed all the potential crimes against individuals.
She further stressed the need for a dedicated law and court for family violence issues to act as deterrent for any potential abuses. However, she saw the need for a detailed study of the topic while increasing the public awareness about the issue and the services of Aman.
The centre held 10 simultaneous workshops with the participation of experts in the field, specialists and those interested in the topic to discuss the involved issues and come out with practical solutions and suggestions to avoid any potential family violence and report and handle any violence if it happens.