LEONID EIDELMAN 370.
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
The number of psychiatric sessions given to minors who have suffered sexual
abuse must be increased significantly, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, chairman of the
Israel Medical Association, said on Sunday.
He called on the Knesset
Committee on the Rights of the Child to discuss the issue, adding that the
authorities must give high priority to children who are victims of such
At present, such victims are entitled to 15 sessions with a
psychotherapist, with the possibility of adding another 15 if they receive
approval from a special committee.
As the therapy with the child includes
sessions with his or her parents, in many cases many additional meetings are
needed. A significant share of abused children grew up poor, and their parents
cannot afford private treatment, Eidelman said.
In addition, children
exposed to physical abuse usually suffer significant emotional damage,
especially low self-esteem, he continued.
Eidelman called for providing
adequate therapy to children who have undergone physical abuse in the home. In
that situation, parental abusers must receive therapy as well and learn how to
halt the violence and change their behavior, the IMA chairman said.
is a nationwide shortage of pediatric psychiatrists with expertise in the field,
Eidelman said. “Every district or large mental health clinic should have a
psychiatrist who would coordinate treatment of children who have undergone
sexual and/or physical abuse,” he insisted. At present, no psychiatric treatment
is given to such children until they are examined by a police investigator, said
Eidelman, so much time may pass before the child gets the therapy he needs. This
practice must cease immediately, he added.
Left untreated, many children
who have suffered violence, maltreatment and neglect develop emotional,
behavioral, cognitive and physical problems – and some become suicidal. They may
grow up to become abusers themselves, Eidelman said.