An investigation by Radio Al Balad has revealed that nearly 12,000 cases of family violence have occurred without follow up by the ministry of social affairs since 1998. Social departments exist in 10 out of the 12 Jordanian governorates have clearly ignored a large number of cases of family violence.
The investigation reveals a major weakness in the 2008 law protecting citizens from cases of family violence. No regulation has been issued to activate this law by the consecutive Jordanian governments which have resulted few cases being addressed by the family Harmony Committees stipulated in the law. Some guidelines have been issued regarding setting up these committees with very little detail and criteria for choosing their members and their working system.
Family protection departments and the courts have failed the public in addressing tens of thousands of cases of violence through these committees that were mandated in law.
Eight cases of family violence are documented by voice recording reveals that despite repeated visits to the departments of family protection, no change has occurred. In most cases the person causing the violence is asked to sign a commitment to refrain from violence. These signed commitments have proved to be ineffective in stemming the tide of family violence.
The investigation produced by Hadeel Biss and supervised by unit director Musab Shwbaki and in coordination with Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) shows that none of the Ministers of Social Affairs have used their legal right to create these Family Harmony Committees or delegate the power of setting up the committees to their deputies.
Carrying out this month long investigation ran into many bureaucratic problems with most government officials and departments refusing to provide information in a timely, holistic and transparent manner in accordance to the 2007 Access to Information law. Tens of requests based on this law were made but few of them were answered and in most cases the answers were superficial and repetition of publicly available information.
The investigation followed strict professional guidelines according to the standards set by ARIJ. The report which will be made public on Wednesday afternoon on radio al balad was based on tens of first hand interviews, thorough research and interviews with current and former government officials.
The Radio al Balad investigation unit has previously uncovered violence at private handicapped centers, cases of unregistered marriages of Syrians and investigation in unhealthy yogurt factories in Jordan.