Getting people to report domestic abuse in Saudi Arabia is the greatest hurdle in trying to deal with it, this Arab News article says. Both social and cultural barriers stop people from reporting it, or sometimes even acknowledging it. The police disagree, saying that they deal with it properly. That may be, but they can only deal with the issues brought to their attention and Saudi society, for numerous reasons, tends to avoid looking too closely into other people’s business.
Except that’s not true, either. In fact, there’s a whole government organization—the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice—whose sole business is taking care of other people’s business. Their curiosity, though, seems to stop at the walls of a private home. What goes on inside, if it doesn’t involve sex, drugs, or rock ‘n’ roll, and witchcraft, just isn’t their concern, apparently. Curious, that.
Domestic abuse goes unreported due to sensitivity
Laura Bashraheel | Arab News
JEDDAH: Cultural sensitivity in the Kingdom plays a vital role in ignoring crimes of a serious nature such as domestic abuse. The fear of scandal and the presence of a domineering male, offer little hope for victims. In recent years however, domestic abuse cases were given massive coverage by the media, encouraging the abused to contact police.
The official spokesman of police in Hail, Abdul Aziz Al-Zunaidi, said social and cultural barriers are not considered an impediment to police intervention in extreme cases of domestic violence.
Normally, police have to follow procedures when acting on a domestic abuse case. Their intervention usually ends after delivering the case to the Investigation and Prosecution Board or family protection organizations. Also, police cooperate with several committees within the Ministry of Social Affairs.
“There is cooperation between police and the branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs in Hail to study the papers referred to them by the Ministry of Education, the Department of Health Affairs, the Investigation and Prosecution Board and other government agencies,” said Al-Zunaidi.
However, women and children still find it difficult to report abuse to the authorities or accept there is a problem in the first place.