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JEDDAH, Dec 19: According to recent studies, 60 percent of all sexual assault victims are minors. Family members commit nearly one third of these incidents.

Addressing the issue of family violence at the Jeddah Chamber of Industry and Commerce on Sunday night, Inaam Robai, chairperson of the Committee for Protecting Children’s Rights at the Armed Forces Hospital, said that child abuse in Saudi Arabia has become a very serious issue.

“The term ‘family violence’ includes many different forms of abuse, mistreatment or neglect that adults or children may experience in their homes,” said Robai. “As our understanding of the nature and extent of violence within intimate relationships and families improves, and our insight deepens, the definition of family violence continues to evolve.”

She pointed out that Interior Ministry studies have shown that 45 percent of children are mistreated during their daily lives.

“Unfortunately we don’t like to talk about the problem and we always ignore it here in Saudi Arabia,” she said.

Robai cited a study of Makkah households estimating that 77 percent of child abusers are parents.

“Abuse may take place anywhere and may occur, for example, within the child’s home or that of someone known to the child,” she said.

“Many cases of child abuse remain undisclosed, either because a child does not, or cannot, tell anyone what has happened to them, or because no one reports the abuse to the authorities.”

Participants in recent conference in Jeddah called for forming a committee of experts under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Affairs to solve problems concerning domestic issues. 


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