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Saudi Arabia: Cases of Domestic Violence Drop in Ramadan - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – The number of domestic violence cases decreased by 80 percent during the first ten days of Ramadan, while the level of reconciliation between family members increased.

The level of domestic violence has increased significantly over the past few years, leading to the establishment of organizations such as the Saudi Family Protection Organisation.

Lafi al Balawi, head of the executive committee for the Saudi Family Protection Organisation based in Jeddah told Asharq Al-Awsat that the number of cases of domestic violence has dropped by 80 percent during the holy month of Ramadan. In the first week of the fasting month, an increase was recorded in the number of cases of reconciliation between family members. Al Balawi attributed this to Ramadan during which there is a tendency to resolve ongoing problems and accomplish good deeds. He highlighted the remarkable role of the reconciliation committee in this regard as well as other parties such as mayors and dignitaries who mediate to solve complicated cases.

The reconciliation committees, which are affiliated to the principalities, play an important role in settling disputes and reuniting families before problems are further exacerbated.

On his part, Dr. Ali al Hanaki, director of the Social Affairs department in Mecca, told Asharq Al Awsat, “The month of Ramadan is a time for worship, reflection and obedience; it is only natural that the level of violence decreases during this month. However, there are people who use Ramadan to cause problems and settle accounts with their spouses.”

According to Lafi al Balawi, his organisation has settled fifteen disputes in the first week of Ramadan alone. Seventy cases remain unsolved.

Despite the efforts to reconcile families, the numbers of individuals seeking shelter is continuously on the rise. One of the families seeking shelter comprises of eleven members – a mother, eight daughters and two sons. There is also a 23-year-old girl, who has stayed at the shelter for two years, after her father refused to marry her off, according to Lafi al Balawi.