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Saudi Arabia Outlaws Domestic Violence

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Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has adopted a law that criminalises domestic violence, usually targeting women and children.
The “Protection from Abuse” law, approved by the cabinet is aimed at protecting people from “all forms of abuse” and offering them shelter as well as “social, psychological, and medical aid,” according to its text. The law, approved during a cabinet meeting recently, came several months after a local charity launched a nationwide campaign to combat violence against women. Saudi Arabia has often faced international criticism for lacking laws that protect women and domestic workers against abuse. Under the 17-article bill, those found guilty of committing psychological or physical abuse could face prison sentences of up to one year and up to $13,300 in fines. Women are the main victims of domestic violence with “98 percent of physical violence committed by men against women,” it said. The law gives those who report abuse the right to remain anonymous, as well as immunity from litigation, should the abuse fail to be proven in a court. The law could be a step towards changing current regulations which require women to get approval of male guardians – fathers, husbands or sons, to carry out business, apply for jobs or travel outside the country.