Domestic abuse hotline reports rise in calls following Rose case

Lengthy summer vacation increases stress for parents.

searching for rose 224.88 (photo credit: Yaakov Lappin )
searching for rose 224.88
(photo credit: Yaakov Lappin )
As the search continues in the Yarkon River for the body of four-year-old Rose Pizem, allegedly murdered by her grandfather in May, the Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO), which runs the National Hotline for Battered Women and Children at Risk, noted a sharp increase in the number of distress calls regarding violence against children in the last week of August. "Since the story about little Rose broke, our hotline has been receiving non-stop calls from eight in the morning until 10 at night," Nurit Kaufman, director of Violence against Women for WIZO, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. "It's mostly calls from concerned neighbors whose suspicions have been aroused." Kaufman said that Rose's murder - as well as the drowning last week of Alon Yehuda, four, by his mother, Olga Borisov from Rishon Lezion - were both extreme and unusual cases of child abuse. However, she said that the lengthy summer vacation from school could leave some parents extremely frazzled and unable to cope with the pressures of child rearing. "We cannot connect these two cases to the long summer vacation," she emphasized. "However, maybe there do need to be more frameworks for children during the month of August in order to ease the pressure on parents." On Monday, the non-profit National Council for the Child presented a potential program that could help parents and improve early prevention of violence against children. "There is no doubt that the summer can be a catalyst for parents' negative behavior toward their children," said the council's director, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, who raised the issue at Monday's session of the Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child. "Unfortunately, children do not come with an operating manual and sometimes they end up falling behind their parents' other priorities, such as work commitments." The program, which would require some NIS 950,000 and is tentatively labeled 'One Step Ahead,' aims to provide stressed-out parents with a 24-hour advice hotline, produce a film guide to parenthood and offer relief services for stressed-out parents. The council also issued a 22-point critique of where the authorities could improve in early prevention and providing assistance to struggling parents. Among the points raised, the council pointed to increasing manpower in the social welfare system, improving the flow of communication between services for health, welfare, education and the police and expanding the role of Tipat Halav (well baby clinics) to provide essential advice and supervise home visits for new parents. The council also suggested the establishment of an official body to investigate all child deaths. "Of course the only government office not represented at Monday's Knesset meeting was the Finance Ministry," commented Kadman. "There are many programs available out there, we have the knowledge and have done the research - but without the financial resources, nothing will change."