Cairo: Saudi state Human Rights Commission has said it has set up a specialised group to offer support for victims of harassment.
The commission’s head Awwad Al Awwad has launched the group aimed to provide psychological, social and legal counselling to harassment victims and their families confidentially.
“The launch of the group is in line with the measures and systems adopted by the kingdom to protect and support victims of harassment, combat this crime and provide enough protection for victims to mitigate resulting negative effects,” he said in media remarks.
The team, including a psychiatry consultant, a sex education specialist and legal experts, also seeks to change a common perception that blames the victim for having experienced harassment.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has sought to fight sex offences and boost women’s rights as part of drastic reforms in the kingdom championed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia approved a law criminalising sexual harassment, making the act punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of SR300,000.
Last January, the Saudi government approved a legal amendment to an anti-sexual harassment law allowing the naming of offenders in public.
The amendment allows publishing details of a final ruling against harassers in media, a step aimed at deterring would-be offenders.
The ruling is allowed to be published at the convict’s expense in one or more local newspaper or any other media depending on the “enormity of the crime and it effect on society,” according to the amendment.