A new law in Saudi Arabia outlaws sexual and physical abuse at home and in the workplace

Saudi Arabia Bans Domestic Abuse (Because It Hadn’t Already)

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Aug. 28 2013 9:34 PM

Saudi Arabia Bans Domestic Abuse (Because It Hadn’t Already)

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Saudi women arrive to attend the morning Eid al-Fitr prayer at Turki bin Abdullah grand mosque in Riyadh.

Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

It is now against the law in Saudi Arabia to physically or sexually abuse women. The new law covering abuse, both at home and in the workplace, was approved by Saudi Arabia’s cabinet this week, the BBC reports. Until now, laws in the country considered violence against women and children to be a private, family matter.

Domestic abuse is not openly discussed in the country, but in April the first public service campaign against domestic abuse was launched. The ad shows a woman with a black eye wearing a niqab. Below the closeup of the woman's face, text reads: "Some things can’t be covered - fighting women’s abuse together," according to AdWeek.

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The new law can impose a jail term of up to one year and a fine from roughly $1,300 to $13,000, according to the Saudi Gazette. The paper also reports that the Saudi Minister of Culture and Information released a statement saying “that there are provisions in the law to provide victims of abuse shelter and psychological, social and health care as well as necessary assistance, besides taking legal action against the abusers and punishing them.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter.

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