police car 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A wave of horrific incidents of violence in the family washed over Israel in the
last week. On November 8, we awoke to the stabbing by her husband of a woman who
hovered between life and death before succumbing to her wounds days later. In
the very same building, three years prior, another man took his wife’s life.
Just three days later, on November 11, Michal Aloni inexplicably strangled her
two young daughters. The following day, an Eritrean woman refugee was murdered,
and the police suspect her husband. Less than a day later, a Netanya man shot
his wife and then himself.
These people should pay for their crimes, and
Itai Ben-Dror, the disgraceful murderer of his three
children, like other vile murderers, rapists and abusers will spend their lives
in jail, funded by taxpayers, and will not pay a single cent in compensation to
their victims. I advocate imposing a financial penalty that will make criminals
think before they act, or pay up.
One of the most infuriating aspects of
treating family violence is the fact that the victims lack appropriate care
after their injury. Jailing the assailant may protect the victim and other
potential victims, and may even give the victim a sense of closure, but the
victims are often left helpless without the care and therapy they need to
rebuild their lives.
Paradoxically, the cruel murder of his three young
children that shocked the nation in July paid off big time for Ben-Dror. He no
longer needs to pay his exwife the child support he would pay if his children
were alive. Even worse, his former wife not only suffered the unimaginable loss
of all of her children, but will now be forced, along with the rest of us
taxpayers, to pay for his incarceration from already scare state
THE TIME has come to change our approach to perpetrators of
violence in the family, so that their punishment will also compensate and
rehabilitate their victims. Family batterers need to recognize that there is a
painful financial price for their abuse. Following a conviction for serious
crimes, such as child abuse, molestation, rape or murder, offenders should be
required to pay a “violence tax.” It should be a painful deterrent that will
transfer all the assailants’ assets and earnings to the victims of his violent
crimes and to the state to pay for his incarceration. Upon his release from
prison, the tax will be gradually reduced, but the criminal should still be
required to pay for his victims’ treatments and rehabilitation and compensate
them for their suffering.
Treatment for violent offenders has stagnated
for many years in the absence of effective deterrents and appropriate care for
victims, who are often left helpless.
It’s time to shake up the judicial
system and to punish violent offenders financially as well as by
Imagine a situation in which a violent offender who
committed a heinous crime rehabilitates his life after serving his sentence,
without his assets being utilized to compensate and treat the victims or fund
his jail stay, while the victims whose lives he destroyed languish and suffer
without the resources they need to heal. Though no punishment can turn back time
and prevent a crime from being committed, utilizing the assailants’ assets for
compensation and rehabilitation is a small expression of justice.
goal is to give meaning to the hollow mantra “the prisoner paid his debt to
Many will roll their eyes and wonder if justice can be bought.
The answer is twofold: First, the financial penalty will be added to a prison
sentence and will not replace incarceration. The violence tax will provide an
additional source of funding for rehabilitation and repayment to society that
the offender will pay for his actions.
Second, the money paid to the
victims will not restore their physical or mental health, but can provide them
substantial relief. A situation of restorative justice where the offender pays
for his victims’ treatment is not only poetic justice, but might even awaken in
the offender a feeling of remorse for his crimes or ownership over the processes
of changing his ways. He participates, indirectly, in the repair of the lives he
himself destroyed or scarred.
Painful restorative taxation of violent
offenders could cause those considering harming others to reconsider their
actions. Make no mistake. This is no fine imposed for traffic offenses, but
confiscation of all the assets and income the offender has accumulated over his
lifetime – to be reserved for only the most severe crimes. This could cause some
potential murders and rapists to think before committing their crimes. Even if
some criminals won’t be deterred, it will contribute to the alleviation of the
suffering of the lives scarred by violence in the family and maybe prevent the
next murder.The author is a family law attorney, the founder and
executive director of New Family.