Guide helps teachers identify abuse

A comprehensive manual aimed at providing teachers and educational staff with the tools to recognize signs of abuse among children of all ages will be distributed in the coming weeks in the nation's schools, after a summer that has been filled with stories of severe child abuse and neglect by parents. Following the murders of four-year-old Rose Pizem of Netanya, allegedly killed by her grandfather in May, and Alon Yehuda, four, from Rishon Lezion, drowned last week by his mother in Bat Yam, authorities are closely examining how such incidents took place. Published by Ashalim, the association for planning and development of services for children and youth at risk and their families, the guide focuses on four age groups from pre-school through high school and includes tips on how to analyze physical, emotional and behavioral signs of abuse. The manual was compiled by a steering committee of professionals from education, social welfare and child protection agencies, police and academics. Ashalim, which develops and facilitates programs for about 350,000 children from pre-school to post-army, is jointly sponsored by the government - through the Ministries of Education, Welfare and Social Services, Health and Finance, and the National Insurance Institute - and the American Jewish-Joint Distribution Committee and the UJA Federation of New York.