Only 13 percent of sexual assaults reported to authorities

Over 40,000 sexual violence complaints were submitted to the rape centers last year.

November 23, 2015 05:28
2 minute read.
Israel sexual assault

Protest outside Allenby 40, after suspected gang rape in the bar came to light. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

Only 13 percent of sexual assaults were reported to the police in 2014, according to a report released on Monday by the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel.

The organization presented the report to the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is observed annually on November 25.

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More than 40,000 sexual violence complaints were submitted to the rape centers last year, of which some 8,938 were new inquiries, reflecting a 13% increase over the past five years, according to the association.

Of the complaints, 84% regarded female victims, while some 16% were made about male victims.

The complaints involved rape or attempted rape in 34% of cases, while 15% dealt with incest, and 12% concerned harassment in the workplace.

An additional 13% of complaints involved indecent acts and 5% were related to group rape or assault.

The majority of sexual assault incidents – 26% – were committed by a family member of the victim, while 10% were committed by a boyfriend or spouse.

“Sexual violence in Israeli society is a real social plague.

However, there is still no comprehensive response and financial investment to cope with the vast dimensions of this phenomenon and its devastating consequences to the victims and those injured,” association director Orit Sulitzeanu said.

“Unfortunately, reporting to the authorities and the handling of cases of sexual assault in the police and the courts are still lacking, and this is reflected in the gap between the data from the Association of Rape Crisis Centers on sexual assault and the data on contacting the authorities,” she added.

Authorities must make sexual assault a “top priority” and develop a national plan to address the issue, Sulitzeanu said.

She called on local authorities to health and welfare services to the education system to invest resources to minimize the phenomenon and provide assistance to the victims, as well as to raise public awareness of the issue.

MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), chairwoman of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, said the findings of the association’s report painted a “worrisome and disturbing” picture.

“The fact that 50% of complaints to the police of sexual assault were towards minors and on the other hand only 13% of those turning to the center complained to the police is revealing and should move the police to reexamine themselves.

Why don’t women have any faith in the police and its handling of their complaints,” she said.

Touma-Sliman lauded the work being done by the ARCCI and said that the Knesset committee would continue to support its important work.

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