MK Orly Levy Abecassis.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Monday approved a bill amendment prohibiting revelation of details about a sexual abuse victim to his or her abuser.
The amendment’s cosponsors were MKs Orly Levy-Abecassis (Likud Beytenu) and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi).
A statement from Levy-Abecassis said that women who have been sexually abused struggle daily with leftover emotional pain and trauma from the abuse.
It said that some of the victims turn to The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, and of those, just one fifth file complaints with the police against their abusers, most of which are closed for lack of evidence.
The few victims who both choose to file a complaint with the police and succeed with their case in court still face additional difficulties in rehabilitating their lives, the statement said.
Levy-Abecassis explained that the premise of the bill is that victims of abusers who are convicted and sent to jail, but later released, experience high levels of fear of retaliation and harassment that can derail their recovery.
Although a 2004 law empowered the courts to protect victims by placing restrictions on sexual abusers in terms of living or working in proximity to their victims, the courts have rarely used this power and few victims have requested the court to place such restrictions.
Levy-Abecassis implied that some victims may not request imposing restrictions through the court system partly out of fear that the proceedings could lead to revelation of information about them to their abuser.
The statement said that the new amendment could reassure these victims so that they exercise their rights and have a better chance of recovering without being further exposed or risking further conflict with their abuser.
In order to solve the issue, victims will be able to keep complete confidentiality from their abuser for all details regarding them, and information related to any legal proceeding will only be given to the court and under order of confidentiality, the statement said.