Disclosure and Health Seeking Behavior of Domestic Violence Survivors of Women attending the National Guard Primary Healthcare Centers in the Western Region, Saudi Arabia, 2020

Author(s): Razaz M Wali*

Background: Domestic violence is prevalent in Saudi Arabia, and the help-seeking behavior of domestic violence survivors (DVS) vary in terms of the demographic factors, type of domestic violence, and cultural norms. The objective of the study was to explore disclosure and help-seeking behavior and the association with demographic factors of women attending the National Guard Primary Healthcare Centers in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with women who previously experienced domestic violence and attending a National Guard Primary Health Care Center in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia from January to May 2020. A non-probability convenient sampling method was used. In total, 1845 participants were invited to complete a validated, self-administered Arabic version of the Norvold Domestic Abuse Questionnaire (NORAQ) to determine the help-seeking behavior of survivors of domestic violence. All women between 18-65 years who met the inclusion criteria were included. The data were analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package Social Sciences) version 24.0. Results: Only a third 34.3% of the domestic violence survivors attempted to find assistance. Although most of the DVS were not scared of disclosure, only 28.4% went to a formal sector, such as the police or a social agency. Financial dependence on the caregiver as well as living in the city was significantly associated with disclosure and help-seeking behaviors. Conclusion: Despite the prevalence of domestic violence, most domestic violence survivors do not seek assistance. Some disclosed the violence to their physicians, but very few reported it to the police or a social agency. Help-seeking behavior in Saudi Arabia needs to be supported, and awareness of the legal rights and reporting channels should be emphasized. Many formal and non-formal services are available; however, the information about these services should be accessible to women.


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