Saudi Arabia: Call for Family Courts

Publication Date: 
August 16, 2011
Gulf in the Media

16 August 2011 - Family courts should be set up in the Kingdom and couples undergo pre-marital counseling to help counter increasing instances of domestic violence and help save marriages. This has been proposed by Dr. Waleed Al-Sadoon, an adviser at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call (Dawah) and Guidance. “This will help curtail family violence cases that have spread in our society.” Al-Sadoon also called for a center to be set up to deal with cases involving assault of male and female students. The center should be connected to schools, hospitals and the police, according to Al-Sadoon.
“Women should be employed at police stations to deal with women-related cases because many Saudi women are not aware of the laws. They fear the police and hesitate to report violence against them. Moreover, security forces need to develop methods to tackle these cases secretly.”
A domestic violence study, conducted by Al-Sadoon, has revealed that most victims are not aware of their rights. The study said that the lack of Dawah activists and qualified experts on family violence is hampering efforts to counter this phenomenon.
There is also a lack of courses on the subject. The study said that most Dawah activists have not taken courses and most are men. Women represent 10 percent of Dawah activists. The study has revealed that the increasing number of social problems is due to the integration of different cultures. It has also revealed that studies conducted by the Anti-Crime Department of the Ministry of Interior about child abuse in Saudi society, has revealed that 45 percent of children are subject to daily abuse. Al-Sadoon recommended that mosques should play a bigger role in educating people about the risks of family violence. He also called for the establishment of a higher national committee supervised by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
The committee should set up a central and national database to gather statistics, information and data related to family violence crimes. “Verbal violence among family members is the most common type of violence. Riyadh is number one in terms of family violence cases in the Kingdom while the Northern Region has the lowest rate at two percent.” The study revealed that the most violence took place against wives, at 53.8 percent. It said that the uneducated commit 19.1 percent of assaults while the educated commit 23.8 percent and those who have intermediate education certificate commit 25.7 percent. Those who hold higher academic degrees commit 5.7 percent of assaults.