Jeddah: Asharq Al-Awsat – A Saudi rights activist has called for the immediate establishment of a special police unit to deal with cases of violence and sexual harassment.
Vice Chairperson of the National Society for Human Rights, Jowhara al Angari told Asharq Al-Awsat that a family police unit would contribute to curbing the phenomenon of domestic violence, which is on the rise.
Al Angari stated that the Ministry of Interior has begun practical procedures to study the proposal for establishing a special police unit to counter domestic violence.
Al Anqari highlighted the need for a raising public awareness on how to deal with- and report- cases of violence through school curricula and by training students on how to protect themselves against violence and sexual harassment. Furthermore, there is a vital need for information centres in different cities and districts as well as a register of rights for people to use as a reference.
“There must be some kind of register to detail the rights of family members. Men are aware of their rights but not of their duties. This why there is failure, violence and misunderstanding of religious teachings. For example, the Quranic phrase “hit them” (in reference to wives) is symbolic but the aggression that is being practiced contradicts Islamic teachings. This is why a register is needed to clarify the rights of family members whether male or female.”
“We need to qualify men before marriage and make them understand that marriage is an institution, not a temporary partnership, because we are witnessing high divorce rates. This is also necessary because addictions and psychological illnesses can contribute to domestic violence. In order to protect our daughters from harm when they get married, tests should be taken for addictions and psychological illnesses beforehand just as we have made tests for hereditary illnesses compulsory.”
Al Anqari called for society to put a stop to acts of violence in the home, streets and at schools and to report any cases of violence to avoid further aggression.
“A family police unit would contribute to curtailing violence. Qualified cadres, such as psychiatrists, social workers, and religious guides, would also work on cases to ensure that violent acts are not repeated and that family cohesion is maintained.”
For his part, spokesperson for the Saudi Interior Ministry General Mansour al Turki, said that the ministry is currently considering the establishment of a special police unit to tackle domestic violence.