An increase in the number of domestic violence cases in the country has prompted the Supreme Judiciary Board (SJB) to direct courts to monitor closely custody cases to ascertain whether violence is committed against the children.
Abdullah Al Tawi, director of social affairs in Makkah, told Arab News in a phone call that custody cases involving domestic violence “are referred to us for further investigation from psychological and social aspects,” he said.
“A team of psychologists and sociologists conduct a comprehensive study, then we discuss the various aspects of the case and submit our report to the judges for consideration. However, the judges do not rely entirely on our reports. They do their own investigations, which consist of home visits and psychological analysis sessions,” he said.
Al Tawi indicated that the social affairs has requested the assistance of the SJB in the parents’ rebuttals to the judges and the committees in charge of protecting children from violence in custody cases.
Muhammad Al Isa, minister of justice and chairman of SJB, stressed upon the courts the need to comply with the SJB directive regarding custody. “We need to make sure that there is no violence involved, and in case there is violence, the child should be offered the necessary protection, and the courts should listen to the rebuttals of parents regarding custody,” he added.
Meanwhile, As’ad Al Tamimi, a psychiatrist, said that it is difficult to ascertain and record the number of domestic violence incidences in our society due to the dearth of research.
“We still need to conduct more studies, because there many cases of domestic violence that go unrecorded; our society is still tight-lipped regarding such matters due to some tradition views held by the community,” he explained.
“The statistics at hand on domestic violence are alarming, with figures as high as 32 percent in cases of violence against children below the age of five, while the rate stands at 27 percent for children in the age group of 5-10 years of age and 15 percent for children between 15-18,” he added.