KSA declares war on domestic abuse


Published — Tuesday 27 August 2013

Last update 28 August 2013 1:36 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

In a landmark decision, the Cabinet on Monday passed a law making it a crime to commit domestic abuse. The law also provides treatment and shelter to victims of violence.
For the first time, public and private sector workers have been encouraged to report abuse cases to law enforcement authorities or the Ministry of Social Affairs.
The legislation now holds law enforcement agencies accountable for investigating and prosecuting domestic cases. Previously, police treated violence against women and children as a private domestic matter with few legal consequences.
Abuse victims also will have access to psychological treatment, health care and shelter. “All civilian or military employees and all workers in the private sector who learn of a case of abuse — by virtue of their work — shall report the case to their employers when they know it,” the Cabinet said in a statement. “The employers shall report the case to the Ministry of Social Affairs or police when they know it.”
The Cabinet did not provide specifics of penalties for convictions of domestic violence.
Suhaila Zain Al-Abideen Al-Hammad, a social activist and member of the National Society for Human Rights, said she has reservations about the new law because it doesn’t resolve the male guardianship issue. Many abusers are the guardians of the victims, she said.
“I wish this will change how the Ministry of Social Affairs treats women when it asks them to bring their male guardians when filing domestic abuse complaints,” Al-Hammad said. “They also ask their male guardians to pick them up after the report is done and ask the abusers to sign pledges to never do it again.”
Walaa Mohammed is a 55-year-old stay-at-home mother who divorced her abusive husband. She said the police were powerless to help her.
“My husband used to drink late at night and attack me,” she said. “One day, he locked me in the house and left to meet with his friends and I couldn’t leave the house for days. I called the police who informed me that they cannot come inside if my male guardian was not here.”
Mohammed Al-Harbi, general manager of Social Protection at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said urgent domestic violence cases now can be handled quickly.
“Urgent investigations will be launched and action will be taken in the cases where the abusers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and those who suffer from psychological conditions,” Al-Harbi said.
Domestic violence awareness is a relatively new concept in Saudi Arabia. Only recently have studies been carried out to examine the issue.
In a 2009 study of women seeking services as primary health centers in Madinah, 25.7 percent of the 689 women surveyed said they were victims of physical abuse. Only 36.7 percent of the abused women in the study notified their doctors.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani has launched a series of electronic projects and facilities provided to the private sector companies, the SPA reported on Sunday.The projects and facilities include electronic visa issuance for the distinguis...
RIYADH: A high-powered team of officials from the Ministry of Health visited the hospitals in Jazan in the southern border to ensure services are in place to serve the patients in the region.The group of officials, comprising Dr. Nahar Al-Azmi, Dr. T...
YANBU: Like many Saudi women, Amani dreamt of becoming a mother, but was unable to have children of her own after many years of marriage. Therefore, she decided to spend her time taking care of orphans with special circumstances in Makkah.However, th...
RIYADH: A total of 43 warehouses were shut down in Jeddah for failing to take safety and health measures.Officials of the general department of Civil Defense in Jeddah carried out inspection at 165 industrial complexes in the industrial zone recently...
JEDDAH: A quarrel between two girls at the Al-Zahour Orphanage in Makkah took a violent turn recently, with one of them reportedly using a sharp instrument to attack the other and injuring her.The attacker was sent to a correction center, while the i...
RIYADH: A woman and three men died on Sunday after contracting the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Riyadh, bringing the total number of deaths to 507 since June, 2012.According to the latest report issued by the Ministry of...

Stay Connected