Women's Safety in the UAE: Is Self Defence Legal? | ExpatWoman.com

Women's Safety in the UAE: Is Self Defence Legal?

Here's what you need to know about the UAE's laws governing self defence

Posted on

25 October 2022

Last updated on 21 June 2023
Women's self defence in the UAE

Everything you need to know about the self defence law in the UAE.

While the UAE has been ranked as one of the safest countries in the world and has a relatively low crime rate, the chances of danger is not zero percent.

As it's better to be safe than sorry, it's important for expat residents and visitors to know is self defence allowed in the UAE and what counts as a justifiable act of self defence?

This article will explain what you need to know about exercising your right to self defend in the UAE.

What is self defence?

Self defence is the act of protecting yourself, your property, or someone's well-being from danger. It usually involves the use of force to defend oneself from a threat, and can even involve assaulting the attacker as long as it's a reasonable response to the level of threat.

For example, if a person were to yell at you on the street but you decide to physically stab them, this is not a reasonable act of self defence.

Is self defence legal in the UAE?

Is self defence allowed in the UAE?

Self defence is legal in the UAE and it is not a crime according to Article 56 of the Penal Law. While in the country, you have the right to self defence as well as any act performed while exercising that right.

It will not be treated or viewed as a crime if it is a valid act of self defence, for example if the defender is facing imminent danger or themselves or their property and cannot contact public authorities such as the police, and the defender had no other means to avoid the risks or danger.

Here are the following reasons for a valid and justifiable act of reasonable self defence in the UAE:

  • If the defender is in immediate risk of danger from a crime that is committed against them, their property, or the person or property of another, or if he has reasonable reasons to think that such a threat exists.
  • If the defender has good reason to suspect a threat.
  • If the defender has no other options for dealing with the danger.
  • If the defender is unable to seek help from public authorities to avoid the threat in a timely manner.
  • The defense is required to repel the threat and be proportionate to it.

Are self defence weapons allowed in the UAE?

Aggressive self defence tools, such as pepper sprays and weapons, are not allowed in the UAE.

For women who often find themselves travelling alone, we recommend keeping an alert whistle with you, which is a small handheld device capable of making loud noises that can alert those around you. When travelling, avoid dark and

Can you own a gun in the UAE?

Buying or possessing firearms without a licence or permit is illegal in the UAE.

Only UAE citizens (Emiratis) can be issued gun licences, however the law prohibits gun owners from producing a firearm in a public place even if the owner has a permit for the weapon.