Domestic violence on rise in Saudi Arabia: Ministry report

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Dubai, Feb 12 (UNI) More than 550 cases of domestic violence were reported in Saudi Arabia last year, according to a report released by the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs.

Riyadh reported the highest number of cases with 230 followed by Mecca 130, Hail 60, the eastern province 44 and the Asir region reporting 31 cases, the report said.

The northern frontier region reported the lowest number with just three.

Muneera Bint Abdul Rahman Bin Abdullah Al Saud, a Saudi social researcher, said it was difficult to pinpoint the number of domestic violence cases as there were no studies or statistics and also due to the limited cases being reported to the agencies concerned.

''In addition to that, research on violence against women and in particular assaults on wives is a relatively new trend and so the information available is not sufficient,'' she told the Gulf News.

Dr Mufleh Bin Rubaiaan Al Qah'tani, deputy chairman of the Saudi National Human Rights Association (NHRA) has warned against the increasing cases of domestic violence.

''Violence exists, but the question is how to make it public as this is associated with social and traditions controls,'' Mr Al Qah' tani said.

He informed the NHRA would release new statistics on family violence cases and their geographical distribution.

Poverty may be one of the factors leading to family violence, he said adding that if a man felt he was unable to meet the needs of his family this might reflect negatively on his behaviour towards them.

There is a desire of some boys and girls to free themselves from family restrictions, he said.

Protection houses are safe havens for victims of family violence in Saudi Arabia. These houses provide protection and assistance for victims of violence. The houses also contribute towards solving disputes between spouses.

UNI XC RJ YA KP1322

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