Kadman: Many child murders can be avoided

Executive director of the Council for the Child says certain public services could be improved to better prevent such tragedies.

September 17, 2013 22:23
2 minute read.
President Shimon Peres and Dr. Yitzchak Kadman

President Shimon Peres and Dr. Yitzchak Kadman 311. (photo credit: Courtesy/National Council for the Child)

Many cases involving children murdered by a family member, such as that which occurred on Monday when a single mother allegedly murdered her seven-and five-year-old children in their Jerusalem apartment, could have been avoided had the public system been better prepared, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, executive director of the Council for the Child, told the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

According to the Council, an average of six such murders took place during the past decade.

Since the beginning of 2013, nine instances have already occurred, not including cases of high negligence such as leaving children in cars.

In about 86% of cases, the children are killed by one or both parents.

“We have data that tells us that the number is four times higher during July, August and the holidays,” Kadman said.

“Because the children are at home for longer hours, there is more tension [and] more stress.”

“In all of these cases, we see a combination of problematic personality and emotional issues with external triggers and difficult life situations such as divorce, unemployment, aliya and more,” he explained.

“Parents who abuse their child often have this assumption that the child is a possession of theirs and, therefore, they could do whatever they want with it.”

Kadman made it clear that although finger-pointing and searching for a culprit when such tragedies occur is “not right,” certain public services could be improved to better prevent such tragedies.

“The problem is that the system is focusing more on extinguishing fires than on preventing them,” he told the Post.

“Yes, it is a matter of funds and budget, but it also has to do with an overload in welfare services and the education system, where it’s difficult to ask teachers to also be on the lookout for children’s behavior and to pay attention to things like a kid wearing a long-sleeved Tshirt in the summer to hide bruises.”

Kadman said that on the list of important changes needed is the communication channels among the various institutions dealing with child abuse.

“The information is blocked and doesn’t flow, and in the meantime, things happen,” Kadman said.

“The state hasn’t invested enough in educating the public on reporting abnormalities in treating children,” he added.

Following Monday’s double murder, some of the alleged culprit’s neighbors reported they had seen her punish her children by locking them out of the apartment on the balcony for hours at a time, Kadman told the Post.

During the summer, he continued, the mother was reported to the municipality’s welfare services by someone who saw bruises on one of the children’s bodies.

“If people had reported the first occurrence, welfare services would have had an extra warning, another piece of the puzzle, and could have treated the case differently,” he stated.

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