Last year marked a 12 percent rise in the number of complaints of victims of sexual assault to the Association of Rape Crisis Centers, the organization announced on Monday.
According to the association, in 2013 over 40,000 complaints of sexual violence were reported, of which some 8,640 were new inquiries, reflecting a 12% increase from the previous year.
The association revealed that 88% of complaints of sexual abuse were submitted regarding women and girls, and some 12% of complaints were made regarding men and boys. Furthermore, 30% of complaints were of sexual abuse of children under the age of 12.
Of these, 68% of sexual abuse of children under the age of 12 were reported to have been made by a family member – 40% by a relative and 28% by a parent. The findings indicated that 13% of complaints comprised of rape or sodomy, 12% comprised of indecent acts, and two percent of reports comprised of group rape or assault.
“Sexual abuse of children is equivalent to a terrorist attack on a gentle soul and it often takes many years for recovery and recuperation from the trauma,” said association director Orit Sulitzeanu.
“Society must protect its children and do everything possible to prevent injury and to act toward the earliest possible detection to identify these injuries,” she said.
Sulitzeanu criticized the education system, saying it did not devote enough resources to combat the growing phenomenon.
She called on Education Minister Shai Piron to train teachers and educational staff to identify child victims of sexual abuse and to require all children and youth in the education system to undergo a sexual-violence prevention workshop.
Addressing parents, Sulitzeanu advised, “Be extra vigilant during the summer months when children are not in their regular frameworks.”
The association announced on Monday the launch of a fund-raising campaign, in collaboration with “Igul LeTovah” (Round-Up), a non-profit organization that encourages Israeli philanthropy, calling on the general public to donate and support its efforts to identify, prevent and treat sexual abuse in children and youth.
Through Round-Up, every credit-card purchase can be rounded up to the nearest shekel and the spare change, an estimated NIS 4 per month, will be donated to the association.
“This is an opportunity for each and every person to take part in the circle of influence and discover their social responsibility,” said Dana Argov Tikotzky, executive director of Round-Up.
Donations to The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel can be made through Round- Up by signing up to the campaign at http://goo.gl/UfdB9b or by phone at *6360.