International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 8, pp 1223–1232 | Cite as

The epidemiology of domestic violence in Saudi Arabia: a systematic review

  • Yasser M. KazzazEmail author
  • Kholod M. AlAmeer
  • Rasha A. AlAhmari
  • Mowafa Househ
  • Ashraf El-Metwally



The aim of this study is to review the prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of domestic violence (DV) in Saudi Arabia.


Systematic review utilizing PRISMA guidelines conducted on articles focusing on research related to the epidemiology of domestic violence in Saudi Arabia between 2009 and 2017 were identified through electronic databases (PubMed and Embase) and supplemented by cross-referencing and local journal searches.


Eleven studies were conducted in six cities (Riyadh, Jeddah, Madina, Taif, Arar, and Al-Ahsa). Several screening questionnaires were utilized; four studies used the WHO multi-country study questionnaire and found that the lifetime prevalence of DV ranged between 39.3 and 44.5%. The most frequently reported risk factors for DV were the level of education of both the victim and the spouse and alcohol or drug addiction of the spouse.


One in every three women in Saudi Arabia is a victim of domestic violence. Strategies to reduce risk factors, prevent DV, care for victims, and mitigate the effects of DV must be adopted by health care agencies in Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia Domestic violence Intimate partner violence Abuse Violence 



This research did not receive any grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, King Abdulaziz Medical CityMinistry of National Guards - Health AffairsRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.College of MedicineKing Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health SciencesRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.King Abdullah International Medical Research CenterRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Department of Infection Prevention and Control, King Abdulaziz Medical CityMinistry of National Guards - Health AffairsRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  5. 5.Quality and Patient Safety DepartmentMinistry of National Guards - Health AffairsRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  6. 6.School of Health Information ScienceUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  7. 7.College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health SciencesMinistry of National Guards - Health AffairsRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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