Prevalence of domestic violence and abuse among Saudi women: an online based cross-sectional study

Ahmad Hamad Aldosary


Background: Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) has a major impact on women's lives, their psychological, physical, and reproductive health and mostly occurring behind closed doors. The objective of this study was to explore the prevalence of DVA among Saudi women, to determine factors related to each type of abuse, identify sources of abuse, and level of disclosure.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted through an online survey using social networking platforms. Four hundred and twenty-one women completed the validated Arabic version of the NorVold domestic abuse questionnaire.

Results: The lifetime prevalence of DVA was 69.9%. The most prevalent type of violence was emotional abuse, followed by physical abuse (47%), and subsequently sexual abuse (35%). Among the abused women, 25.6% (n=75) had experienced all types of abuse. Fathers, mothers, and brothers were the main perpetrators of emotional violence, while brothers, mothers, and fathers were the main perpetrators of physical abuse; relatives (not from the family) and brothers were the main perpetrators of sexual violence. Approximately 26% of the emotionally abused try to seek help, 78.7% did not disclose the abuse to their doctors, and 16.5% of the physically abused try to seek help; however, 82.2% were unable to inform their doctors after abuse, only 8.7% of sexually abused women try to get help after abuse, and 90% cannot inform their doctors.

Conclusions: DVA against Saudi women is unacknowledged, and national research data are urgently required to assess the prevalence of DVA and risk factors for abused women.


Domestic violence, Saudi Arabia, Abuse, Family

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