Bill to make rape hotline calls free passes initial reading

A bill to make calls to the rape crisishotline free was prepared for its second and third readings Wednesday in a sessionof the Knesset Committee for the Status of Women.

The legislation, which was proposed byOrly Levi Abaksis, could be brought to the plenum for a vote as early asMonday.

If passed, it will mean that callsplaced by victims of rape or sexual abuse to the helpline will be at no chargeto the caller and the calls will not be itemized on telephone bills.

Levi Abaksis said she believes thatproviding free calls and making them non-traceable will encourage thousandsmore victims of sexual abuse or rape the freedom to get help.

The legislation refers to the hotlines --1202 for women and 1203 for men – run by the Association of Rape Crisis Centersin Israel with some government funding. The center receives some 40,000 callseach year.