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Committee formed to tackle domestic violence
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 22 - 12 - 2012

Adel Abdulrahman
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — A committee has been established to deal with cases of domestic violence.
The committee is headed by the director of Makkah Social Affairs Abdullah Al-Tawi and includes representatives from the governorate, police, courts, education directorate and hospitals.
Al-Tawi said the committee also includes highly qualified psychologists and sociologists. The committee reviews domestic violence cases and why the offence was committed in the first place.
If the offender suffers from a mental problem, he will be referred to a mental hospital. If he is a drug addict, he will be referred to Al-Amal hospital.
Some cases are resolved amicably, he said, adding educational programs for dealing with violence cases are organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.
The head of the family protection society Sameerah Al-Ghamdi said the society deals with all kinds of family violence cases.
The society also has a program to assist women economically and enable them to effectively deal with their affairs and problems. There are training programs on marital rights.
She said violence cases are referred to the Social Affairs directorate, though there are no accurate statistics on the number of such cases.
She said she hoped that lessons on domestic violence are included in the curriculum to increase awareness of the problem. A number of lectures in various provinces on domestic violence had a positive response.
One lecture encouraged a school to initiate a “School Without Violence” campaign.
A spokesman for the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR) pointed to the establishment of a separate national commission to deal with violence cases. He said domestic violence has reached serious levels and need special deterrent laws to tackle it effectively.
Dr. Mishal Al-Ali, member of the Shoura Council, said the Shoura reviewed and voted on a program to tackle domestic violence. He added that Shariah laws protect the rights of women and children.
Social networking sites have witnessed intense discussions on violence against women and children. Many have questioned the absence of deterrent laws and said no domestic violence offenders have ever been punished.
Dr. Hassan Basfar, media professor at King Abdulaziz University, called for intensifying educational campaigns on domestic violence all year round.
These campaigns should not be linked to certain incidents only, he said.
He suggested that a forum should be held that includes highly qualified scholars and specialists to discuss the current social reality as a starting point to deal with the issues of domestic violence.
Over the past Hijri year Makkah courts looked into 50 domestic violence cases against women, according to the director of the National Society for Human Rights' Makkah branch.
The majority of domestic violence victims went directly to the branch to complain, Dr. Jawahir Al-Nahari told Al-Yaum, adding some victims preferred to go to the print media to get their stories published.
She said the NSHR will take measures to protect women and children who are likely to become victims of domestic violence.
“Many cases of domestic violence slip under the radar because the victims are too frightened to report these cases.
“Some women and children are mistreated and punished in the name of discipline.”
She said the NSHR is keen to spread a culture of human rights among women and focus on everything that might protect them against inhumane treatment at the hands of their husbands or fathers.
Women will only be protected against such injustices when they realize their rights as human beings, she pointed out.

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