New organization established to monitor domestic violence

September 7, 2008

The Committee of Social Protection has launched an awareness campaign to help combat domestic violence and child abuse, the Arab News reported today.

The Committee is a new organization that consists of various government departments acting in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs.

As part of the awareness campaign, health professionals at private and governmental health facilities in Jeddah are being trained to look for signs of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and child negligence.

“We are working together with the police, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice and various other government bodies. We have sent a team to every health care facility in Jeddah to train health professionals and create awareness among the general public,” Dr. Nawaf Al-Herthy, chairman of the committee’s Jeddah branch and director of the Jeddah Psychiatric Hospital, said as quoted in the Arab News.

“One of the members from each team has direct contact with us who can immediately report cases,” Al-Herthy said.

He added that the committee thoroughly investigates allegations of domestic violence, including conducting psychological assessments at the Jeddah Psychiatric Hospital, to ensure that the organization is not used for any reason other than protecting victims.

“For example in child custody cases, a parent may falsely accuse the other parent of abusing the child,” Al-Herthy told the Arab News.

Al-Herthy said the committee is in contact with the head of the government department of each city where it has a presence to provide help in even the most complicated cases.