'Spousal abuse' could be made a crime in Bahrain
Manama, March 25, 2014
Spousal abuse for financial gain could be criminalised in Bahrain, despite claims that there is no evidence such cases exist.
Bahrain's Shura Council yesterday ignored recommendations from the Supreme Council for Women, the Interior and Social Development Ministries, as well as its own woman and child committee to scrap the article in a new domestic abuse law, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"Bahrain's concerned bodies have no proven cases of this in all of the studies it has done on domestic abuse," said the Supreme Council for Women in a letter to the Shura Council.
"If this is included in the law it means that families would see more disputes, rather solve problems, and will oblige the government to compensate those affected in line with those sheltered for physical and psychological abuse.
"It is good the council has come up with a new version of abuse, which could be looked into in future, but not now."
An Interior Ministry official told councillors during the session that the issue was already covered under the Shariat (Islamic law) and other legislation.
"The suggestion presented by the council doesn't give an explanation on what spousal abuse for financial gain means," he said.
A Social Development Ministry official said if the council wanted to include such articles, it should also consider social and political abuse.
"The explanation that it is financial pressure within the family that denies members' freedom to use their money or property, or stop them from doing or going to work or financially draining them, needs a further explanation," said the official.
However, Dr Aysha Al Mubarak who proposed the article said there were clear cases that warranted it.
"There are cases in which the wife or husband are forced to give their wages or credit cards to their partners - or in other cases the husband is forced to register the family's home under the wife's name," she said.
"Other cases see one partner seize the inheritance of the other or force a consent contract to do whatever he or she wants with the other's finances or property."
The issue will be reviewed by the relevant committee, which will come up with a clear definition and punishments. - TradeArabia News Service