Database helps Saudi Arabia tackle child abuse

March 16, 2013

Rakan endured horrors at his parents’ hands. – Okaz

Saudi Arabia recorded 206 cases of violence against children in 2012, a social activist said.

“According to the figures, 60 per cent of the cases were abuses while 20 per cent were physical violence,” said Maha Al Muneef, the executive director of the National Family Safety Programme (NFSP). “The remaining 20 per cent were negligence and mental and psychological abuses,” local Arabic daily Al Riyadh quoted the activist as saying on Tuesday.

Maha said that physical violence cases were “easiest to report” while sexual violence was “the most difficult to discover.”

“However, psychological violence is the least reported despite the high prevalence of the cases,” she added. “We now have an updated database about the cases and statistics are issued every year. The information contributes to drawing up relevant strategies to protect children in the kingdom,” she said.

Doctors and activists have been pushing for years for appropriate formal action to protect children in Saudi Arabia from domestic violence and school bullying.

Their efforts recently received increased attention as the issue of child abuse came under the spotlight following repeated media reports about children subjected to horrific abuse often by members of their immediate families. The case earlier this year of a man who tortured his daughter to death sparked widespread outrage.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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