Children with special needs suffer more abuse than other youngsters, according
to new data presented for the first time by the National Council for the Child
at a conference hosted by Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba on
According to the council, such cases of child abuse are
under-reported and even concealed in Israel as some 5,000 cases are thought to
occur each year but only some 700 are reported to the authorities.
addition, only about 200 of them are being examined by specialized
The data also indicated that children with special needs
are much more vulnerable to cases of severe abuse than other
Among the disabled children who have suffered from abuse in
2011, 36.3 percent have endured serious injuries caused by rape, sodomy and
extreme use of force, a percentage double than the number of abused children
from the general population.
Yifat Klein, a social worker and the
director of programs for children with disabilities at JDC-Ashalim, stressed at
the conference that disabled children tend to endure a few types of injuries and
also suffer from repeated ones.
Klein also explained that children with
special needs is more affected by violence because they depend on others which
makes them develop habits of obedience and submission.
These children are
also often excluded from activities with their peers and therefore do not have
basic knowledge and understanding of what is allowed and what is not. Some of
the cases of abuse take place within the family, often out of frustration and
inability to cope with the difficulties of the parent- child relationship, Klein
As part of the event, seven members of the Knesset present also
participated in a panel discussing their respective parties’ positions in
regards to child welfare and its budgeting.
Labor MK Isaac Herzog said he
expects to see at least one issue that deals with children as part of current
He added that in the meantime, the only thing involving
the subject he has seen at the negotiations table are cuts in child
Meretz MK Ilan Gilon claimed that the most important issue to
invest in is the integration of children with special needs.
should be that the system is adapted to children, not that children are adapted
to the system,” he said. “Without solidarity, everyone will have to carry his
bundle on his own and will not succeed.”
Tuesday’s conference also
covered issues including children and teenager’s health, education and