Saudi Arabia: Abuse Ban Covers Domestic Workers

August 29, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

A Saudi Arabia abuse ban was passed this week–the first of its kind in the conservative kingdom. The move bans any kind of abuse in the home or at work.

The law, called “Protection from Abuse,” was approved earlier this week. Saudi Arabia has often faced criticism from rights groups about the treatment of domestic workers.

Offenders can face as long as a year in prison and a maximum fine of 50,000 Saudi riyal (about $13,300), said the Council of Ministers, which approved the law, reported the Saudi Gazette.

The law encompasses all forms of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, as well as the threat of abuse.

“It’s about time we have laws against harassment,” said Ghada Saad, a Saudi woman who had to leave her job due to abuse.

In the past, domestic violence against women, domestic workers, and children were encompassed by laws that follow Islamic sharia law codes.

“This is a good law that serves major segments of the society in the kingdom, including women, children, domestic workers and non-domestic workers,” Khaled al-Fakher, who heads the National Society for Human Rights, told Reuters.