Saudi rights group slams response to domestic violence

The committee under the Ministry of Social Affairs has dedicated the hotline number 1919 to report family violence cases

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The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has criticized the poor response by the Social Protection Committee to family violence cases, Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported on Saturday.

The committee under the Ministry of Social Affairs has dedicated the hotline number 1919 to report family violence cases. However, the number is available only until 10 p.m. and is unable to receive calls after that.


Minister of Social Affairs Yusuf Al-Othaimeen had promised to extend the service to receive calls around the clock but that promise has yet to be realized.

The NSHR has monitored a number of complaints on the abuse of authority by guardians and exploiting that authority in ways that have resulted in the deterioration of family ties.

In its 2012 report, the NSHR indicated that it has received 616 abuse and negligence cases involving women and children. Riyadh came first with 290 cases and the Eastern Province was second with 124 cases. The Makkah province followed with 100 cases, while Jazan came fourth with 30 cases.

The NSHR said the majority of cases involved depriving women and children of alimony and housing and delays in registration of children in family identification cards. Such delays deprive children of their right to education and free medical care.

The NSHR also criticized the procedures of a number of government bodies, such as the approval of the guardian for women to work, attend college or even to have an medical operation.

Although women carry their own identification cards, they are required to have a guardian to identify them in many situations. One such requirement necessitates the presence of an eyewitness in any domestic abuse or violence case, a near impossibility as family violence occurs inside homes.

The NSHR has asked for special women’s sections in important government departments such as police stations and courts and private entrances for women into these bodies.

The report also criticized the lengthy period between submitting a claim and the sentencing, in addition to the long delays in issuing sentences in civil cases, which result in depriving women of their alimony and visitation rights.

The NSHR has demanded the enactment of civil rights legislation. The report also called for appointing more judges to handle the large number of cases pending in courts.

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