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Domestic violence in Saudi Arabia:
causes, effects and results
The present study was set to identify the size of the phenomenon of domestic violence
and its most prevalent types in Saudi Arabia. The study focus was on violence against
children, the elderly, maids, and women as categories in need of direct attention and care
(target groups). In addition, the study set on to determine the real causes, motives and
social conditions that cause domestic violence. Furthermore, the negative effects were
taken into consideration in order to put the proposed solutions and the appropriate
mechanisms for stakeholders to deal with it.
Thus the natural beginning was scientific identification that deals with violence concepts;
especially domestic violence and the scientific mechanisms and literature which deal with
this subject.
Using a systematic approach – all the previously mentioned, directed and facilitated the
way to go into the field in order to elucidate opinion through a domestic violence
instrument, as well as the application of a social and economic level instrument. In
addition, case study was applied to some cases has been identified and reported as
A represented sample was chosen to cover all of the Saudi societies, taken into
consideration all the differences and diversities. After statistical analysis, and scientific
explanation, the most important results were found to be the following:
- It was found that verbal violence is the highest in the Saudi society, followed by
psychological abuse, then comes material abuse, then physical abuse, and finally comes
sexual abuse.
- Women come in second place after children in the volume of verbal abuse in the Saudi
family. And in the domain of the verbal abuse, it was found that coercion was the highest
in rank, while the lowest was threat of violence, in the Saudi family.
- We find an increase in incest harassment, which direct the current study in its future
direction towards the importance of at least attending to building awareness in order to
reduce the dimension of this matter, if we’re not able to prevent it.
- That violence against (women - children - elders- maids) varies depending on the
category. For it was found that children and the elderly are often exposed to neglect,
while women are subjected to physical and psychological abuse, while domestic workers
are exposed to physical and material abuse.
- The most important reasons for the existence of abuse within the family is its spread
within the community.
- One of the most important societal causes of abuse is the lower standard of living for
the family.
- As for the direction of abuse, it was found that it occurs more from the father in the
direction of the children in groups with low socio-economic level. While in the case of
abuse of children towards their father, it was found more in groups with high socioeconomic level.
- One of the most important causes of violence against women is the control of social
norms, customs, and traditions which are conflicting with Islam.
- The relationship between abuse and the educational level is an opposite relationship, the
higher the educational level, the less abuse, and vice versa in general.
- For elders, despite respect from children, they are hurt from constant transition between
the homes of their children. They are also being subjected to ill-treatment by daughters in
- One of the most important effects of abuse is the spread of anxiety, tension, and
confusion among family members.
- As for the social status of the abused females, they are generally widowed or divorced
or living a spiritual separation with a spouse or family members.
- For children who have been exposed to abuse, they live with one parent in most cases.
- According to case studies, women and children are more vulnerable to abuse among
family members.
- The father is considered the direct source of abuse then comes the brother; especially
the half-brother.
- Among battered subjects, multiple fears are found indicating the lack of sense of
security, even though the source of fear is varied.
The study projected a conceived proposal in which it identified several perspectives and
included several measures that can be undertaken by the concerned authorities such as the
Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education, the police and the media. It also
identified some of the difficulties expected to work on its elimination. While in the
conclusion it proposed subjects for future studies.