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Dubai to decriminalise suicide attempts

Dubai to decriminalise suicide attempts

The emirate’s new policy will offer psychological help to suicide attempters, who would previously have received a jail sentence

People who attempt to take their own life in Dubai will now be considered victims rather than criminals, according to reports.

Under UAE law, a person who tries to commit suicide faces a prison term of up to six months and a Dhs5,000 ($1,361) fine, while anyone who helps or encourages them could be charged with premeditated murder if the person dies.

However, Dubai Police is now taking a different approach by offering suicidal individuals psychological help and establishing a dedicated hotline for those suffering from mental health issues, according to The National.

“The move is taken to provide support to suicide attempters and deal with them as victims who need moral support and help,” Al Refaa Police Station director, brigadier Ahmed bin Ghalaita, was quoted as saying.

“Suicide cases are being examined by a police unit and experts in the psychology field to identify the causes behind their attempts and find solutions for them.”

Dubai has seen 25 suicides in the first half of 2018 compared to 90 in 2017 as a whole. The majority of those who take their own lives are Asians aged between 27 and 34, according to Dubai Police.

Police officials said most suicide cases were linked to financial or societal problems. However, online media including games have also been linked to rising suicide attempts in other countries.

The UAE’s attorney general ordered several popular online gaming sites and smartphone apps to be blocked in the country last month, including Roblox and Mariam, due to concerns they are damaging children’s health.

Read: UAE blocks Roblox, Blue Whale, Mariam other online games

Despite reports to the contrary, Dubai Police said no suicides have been linked to Blue whale, a social media game said to encourage suicide attempts by children, so far.

Around 50 people attempted suicide in Dubai in the first half of the year compared to 101 in 2017.

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