Saudi Arabia: New Law Outlaws All Forms of Abuse
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 4:25 PM

The cabinet of Saudi Arabia has passed historic legislation criminalizing all forms of abuse, including domestic violence. The legislation allows authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish offenses that were previously considered “private matters.” The Minister of Culture and Information, Dr. Abdulaziz Khoja, said that the new law also provides for shelter, psychological, social and health care for victims.
Domestic abuse is still a new concept for public discussion in Saudi Arabia, and women are often afraid to seek help. According to a 2009 report, only one third of victims of abuse notified their doctor. While this law is an important step, activists have cited concern that the new law is flawed because women who wish to file an abuse complaint must be accompanied by a male.