Sexual assault of soldiers to be treated same as civilians, bill proposes

Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli said the bill “will fix the distortion in which there is one law for military men and another for civilians when it comes to sex offenders.”

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February 5, 2018 12:36
1 minute read.
Merav Michaeli.

MK Merav Michaeli.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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Victims of sexual assault during IDF service will receive equal legal and other aid to those who were assaulted outside of military service, if a bill authorized for a first reading by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday becomes a law.

Currently, rape during IDF service is listed as a separate crime than rape of a civilian. The bill in question, proposed by Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli, cancels the crime of “military rape,” which would make all victims fall under the same category, and the Rights of Victims of Crime Law would also apply to those assaulted while serving in the IDF.

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Michaeli said the bill “will fix the distortion in which there is one law for military men and another for civilians when it comes to sex offenders... That is unreasonable and unacceptable.”

Some of the rights victims of crimes have by law is the right to a gag order on some of their identifying details, to choose the gender of the police officer questioning them, to present their position to a parole board considering releasing the perpetrator, and more.

Chief Military Prosecutor Col. Sharon Zagagi said that the IDF supports the bill and already voluntarily behaves according to the idea behind it as much as it can, with its budgetary limitations. That includes connecting victims to the police’s online updates on the criminal process taking place.

In addition, the Finance and Defense Ministries announced they reached an agreement about the budgetary needs to connect the IDF to the civilian victims’ rights system.

The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel’s attorney Ayelet Rozin Bet- Or said the progress on the bill “is a real revolution in recognizing the victims of crimes in general, and sex offenses in particular.”

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