Domestic violence cases up in 2016: Report

Updated 26 April 2017

Domestic violence cases up in 2016: Report

JEDDAH: Lack of firmness in dealing with domestic violence and child abuse cases caused reported incidents to rise by 18 percent and 19 percent respectively in 2016, a senior member of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) told Arab News.
A new NSHR report that reviewed cases from 2016 says it received 366 cases of domestic violence against women, up from 295 in 2015. Child abuse cases increased from 154 in 2015 to 188 in 2016.
“There’s an increase in domestic violence cases despite the existence of a law that protects children from abuse,” said NSHR senior member Suhaila Zain Al-Abideen, adding that women and girls tend to be the main victims of abuse.
Regarding child abuse, cases of 80 boys and 180 girls were reported, 118 of whom were abused by their fathers.
“The Ministry of Labor and Social Development unfortunately isn’t activating the two laws” of protection from abuse for adults and children,” Al-Abideen said. “We hear about abuse cases, but we don’t see firmness in implementing the laws.”
Personal affairs cases, including male guardians withholding women’s official documents, have dropped from 151 in 2015 to 135 in 2016.
“In the majority of these cases, women are violated by their current or ex-husbands,” said Al-Abideen, adding that 2016 saw 44 complaints from wives against their husbands and 37 from divorcees.
In only eight cases, men complained against their ex-wives in cases where she stopped him from seeing his children.
In 2016, 62 cases of legal system abuse were reported, compared to 37 cases in 2015. “Those include complaints against judges, procrastination in issuance of verdicts in lawsuits,” Al-Abideen said.
The NSHR lists cases including physical and psychological abuse, denying a female’s rights in marriage and education, sexual molestation and confiscating their salaries under the domestic violence umbrella.
Those affected approach the NSHR, which investigates the cases and verifies the evidence provided, from medical reports to police records.
“We try to reconcile between the two conflicting parties,” said Al-Abideen, adding that the NSHR first communicates with the violator before referring the victim to a shelter home.
“We can refer violence victims to shelter homes under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, according to the victim’s wishes. We can then give them guidance to seek legal action in case the reconciliation failed.”
In 2013, the Saudi Cabinet passed unprecedented legislation that criminalizes domestic violence.
The legislation holds law-enforcement agencies accountable for investigating and prosecuting domestic violence cases, which police previously dealt with as a private domestic matter. The hotline 1919 has been established to report suspected abuse.


‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

Footballing great Thierry Henry thrills fans as he signs 10 footballs on stage and tosses them to the audience. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 7 min 44 sec ago

‘Dare to dream,’ football hero Thierry Henry tells Saudi fans

  • Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds

DHAHRAN: Stepping onto the Tanween stage in front of a sold-out venue full of cheering fans, footballing great Thierry Henry was quick to say how “hyped” he was to meet his Saudi supporters.
As a guest and speaker at Tanween Season, the former Arsenal striker and French international faced a busy schedule on Saturday after arriving at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.
First, he had a “meet and greet” with fans, many wearing Arsenal shirts, which was quickly followed by a discussion of the theme for this year’s event, “Play.”
After two young footballers from Riyadh performed a series of tricks that included balancing a football on one leg, then kicking it in the air to land on their backs, Henry said: “I would have broken my back trying to do that. It’s not easy.”
On his second visit to Saudi Arabia — the first was to Riyadh last year — Henry said that he was impressed by this year’s Tanween theme since he had seen firsthand the results of a children’s quality-of-life program at Tanween.
“What I liked most was to see the smiles on the faces of those children when I was walking around the impressive building. Being able to dream is key for me, but seeing how the youngsters were interacting, and how happy they were with their families walking around, was just priceless,” he said.
Growing up, Henry’s father played an important role in his development. The footballer did not miss a beat when answering that his father was his idol. “My dad was the hardest man to please; to put a smile on his face was the hardest thing to do,” he said.
Although the footballer grew up in a “not so great” Paris neighborhood, he considered it an enriching cultural experience. “It was great for me at the time because it allowed me to travel, although I wasn’t really traveling,” he said.
France’s colonial history meant he was exposed to different cultures early in his life.
“If I going upstairs to have couscous, to the second floor to have Senegalese food, or to eat with the Portuguese downstairs, it allowed me to travel, staying where I was,” he explained.
During his talk Henry showed that his Arabic extends to common niceties such as “shukran,” “afwan” and “alsalamau alaikum.”
Having an impact on the English Premier League and his role in Arsenal’s record-breaking era almost two decades ago are more important to him that being considered the world’s best striker, he said. As for his favorite stadium, Henry was quick to choose Highbury.
Offering advice to younger Saudis in the audience, Henry urged them to face their problems calmly and cleverly.
“Don’t run away. Face it and don’t be scared to fail. Come back again, but smarter,” he said.
Fans got up close and personal with the former champion during a segment called the lightning round, where Henry had to answer questions in 10 seconds. That revealed that he has always admired Muhammad Ali as the greatest, Messi is his current favorite football player and winning the World Cup was the most memorable moment in his career.
After the talk, Henry thrilled the crowd — a reminder of his playing days — by tossing 10 footballs to lucky fans who cheered as he left the stage.