Domestic abuseThe Saudi legislation passed a landmark law against domestic violence on Thursday, reported Emirates24/7. This law mainly acts to protect women and children who are the victims of domestic violence in Saudi Arabia. According to a human rights official, women, children, and domestic workers are covered under the new law that is aimed to reduce domestic abuse in the kingdom.

The legislation, known as “Protection from Abuse” law is a milestone in the history of Saudi Arabia because the kingdom follows Shariah laws that predominantly favor men. Saudi has often been the topic of international criticism for its laws that are unfavorable to women.

According to the new law, parties guilty of physical or psychological abuse can be imprisoned for up to one year and can be fined  to pay up to SR 50,000.

The Secretary General of the National Society for Human Rights, a government-licensed body, Khaled Al Fakher told Reuters, “This is a good law that serves major segments of the society in the kingdom, including women, children, domestic workers and non-domestic workers.”

The law allows victims to report abuse anonymously. Even witnesses can report abuse without having to disclose their identity. Fakher said that this last part is an important clause in the law as it will encourage more witnesses to report abuses.

With this law, women can report abuse without the permission of a male guardian, giving them some much-needed independence.

(Image courtesy: King Khalid Foundation)