DAMMAM – A draft of the long-awaited domestic violence law to deal with the growing incidence of child abuse in the Kingdom has been submitted to the Shoura Council for consideration and approval.
This was confirmed Sunday by the Assistant Executive Director of the National Family Safety Program, Majed Al-Isa, at a domestic violence workshop organized here by King Fahd Specialist Hospital.
He said his organization had taken part in drafting and reviewing the law, along with the cabinet’s Board of Experts and the Shoura Council’s Advisory Committee.
He said the draft legislation consists of several measures to protect children. This includes psychological, social, health, security and legal measures. It also includes aspects of international conventions on the rights of children.
Al-Isa said that since the National Domestic Violence Registry was set up six months ago, 200 cases of child abuse had been reported. Most involve negligence but others include physical, psychological and sexual abuse.
He said there has been an increase in domestic violence cases in the Kingdom because of the increase in population.
The number of cases did not vary much from one city to another, he said.
The training of workers in the field of child protection will lead to the discovery of more cases, he said.
A member of the program and Shoura Council Adviser, Dr. Nihad Al-Jashi, said the program will soon launch a Child Help Line in cooperation with 15 government and private bodies.
“It will be a direct line with a number that can be memorized easily. It will be open to children who want to report abuse,” she said.
Al-Jashi said that of the cases recorded by the Child Protection Center at the National Guard’s King Abdul Aziz Medical City, 44 percent involved negligence, 38 percent physical abuse, 14 percent sexual abuse and four percent emotional abuse.
Male children constituted 60 percent of cases, she added.
She said violence against children was a global phenomenon and lamented that “our society considers violence part of raising a child”.
She said the program has signed several memoranda of understanding with several government bodies to cooperate with the National Registry.
“Unifying efforts will give us accurate statistics and reveal the real size of the issue,” she said.
She added that there are teams at 39 government and private hospitals assigned to report domestic violence cases to the registry. – Okaz/SG