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KUWAIT CITY, Sept 19: There have been attempts by the parliament and the government to contain domestic violence, and violence against women in particular, which resulted in submitting a report to the National Assembly to approve a law that constituted a kind of buffer to put an end to this phenomenon of violence against women, reports Al-Qabas daily.
Official reports revealed that a majority of cases of domestic violence that were examined by forensic doctors in the Forensic Medicine Department of the Ministry of Interior until 2020 were against women and children who were subjected to assaults.
The department stated that the observed cases of violence varied in degrees of injuries resulting from them, between minor injuries such as cuts and bruises and severe cases that lead to fractures deep bruises on separate parts of the body.
On the other hand, offi- cial authorities fear tightening penalties in cases of violence against women, prompting some of them to anticipate this by establishing social support centers affiliated with the Ministry of Interior to develop a working mechanism to address the phenomenon.
The authorities summarized their concerns as follows — the possibility of other social problems, such as an increase in divorce cases, the increase in crime rates and the increase in the proportion of judicial disputes after the adoption of the Child Law and causing serious harm to children and exposing them to family disintegration.
The reports demanded the need to develop research and statistical mechanisms to record and document cases of violence, and to establish shelters for victims of domestic violence that would provide them with protection, social, psychological, legal and rehabilitative support, and to conduct research based on specialized scientific studies.
Despite the consensus on the importance of protecting women from violence, a dispute arose between government agencies over the law prepared by the National Assembly two years ago regarding protection from domestic violence.
The Ministry of Justice considered that tightening the penalties prescribed for crimes of domestic violence would spoil the relationship between the abuser and his family, while the Ministry of Social Affairs welcomed the law which called for toughening penalties.
In August 2020, the National Assembly issued Law No. 16 of 2020 regarding protection from domestic violence, and it was published in the Official Gazette in September 2020, in order to confront the expansion of the phenomenon of domestic violence and the high rate of recorded cases of abuse. The law was based mainly on protection and prevention measures on the basis that penal sanctions alone may not yield the desired results.
The law required anyone who witnessed or became aware of a domestic violence to report it, otherwise the penalties stipulated in the provisions for refraining from reporting contained in Law No. 16 of 1960 issuing the Penal Code shall apply to him.
Problems facing dealing with violence against women include the absence of adequate and accurate statistics documenting cases of violence against women, the shortage of social, legal and psychological specialists in the Center for the Protection of Victims of Violence, weakness of addiction treatment and mental health centers and the necessity of providing shelters for the victims at the highest level of readiness.