Saudi Arabia makes domestic abuse a crime

Riyadh, Aug 27 (IANS) In a landmark move, Saudi Arabia has passed a law that makes committing domestic abuse a crime.

The Saudi cabinet Monday passed the law, which also provides for treatment and shelter to victims of domestic crime, the Arab News reported Tuesday.

Earlier, police treated violence against women and children as a private domestic matter with few legal consequences.

"All civilian or military employees and all workers in the private sector who learn of a case of abuse - by virtue of their work - shall report the case to their employers when they know it," the report quoted the Cabinet statement as saying.

"The employers shall report the case to the Ministry of Social Affairs or police when they know it," it added.

According to Mohammed Al-Harbi, general manager of social protection at the social affairs ministry, urgent domestic violence cases now can be handled quickly.

"Urgent investigations will be launched and action will be taken in the cases where the abusers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and those who suffer from psychological conditions," Al-Harbi said.

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