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Women, children target of domestic violence

JEDDAH: There were 961 cases of domestic violence reported by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Dammam last year.

This involved physical, psychological and sexual abuse of women and children over the course of the Islamic year that ended on Oct. 14, said Saeed Al-Ghamdi, director of the ministry’s branch in the Eastern Province.
Al-Ghamdi was quoted as saying by a local publication recently that ministry officials had also been involved in cases of women neglecting their children, people running away from home and suicide attempts.
He said the ministry had received 1,057 reports from the public about various forms of abuse, with 961 involving violence. Cases that did not fall within the jurisdiction of the ministry were referred to other agencies, he said.
“Most of the cases involved women and children being denied their basic lawful right to education and health care, or acquiring personal identification documents. Every individual case is addressed. Several cases were amicably resolved between the disputing parties,” said Al-Ghamdi.
He said that some cases were referred to the Eastern Province governorate because the victims did not respond to offers of assistance from the ministry. However, these only involved a few incidents, he said.
Ahmad Al-Shamaari, director of the social protection unit in Dammam, said: “The unit provides protection to women of all ages and children under 18 years of age, and to certain vulnerable groups exposed to abuse and domestic violence.”
He said a 24-hour call center on the number 1919 was established to receive reports on violence and abuse. Ministry officials are empowered to intervene quickly in cases of abuse in cooperation with public and private agencies, he said.
“The unit aims to spread awareness among members of the public on the importance of protecting family members against abuse and violence. It holds workshops and training courses for workers involved in these cases,” he said.
Meanwhile, the social protection unit honored Col. Yasser Al-Zahrani for the efforts throughout his tenure at the unit in the Eastern Province.

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