Domestic abuse rates are rising, and education officials and youth don't have the tools to help, according to a new poll published by Wizo as part of its new Red Flags campaign in honor of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Friday.
The poll found that half of education staff members don't have the tools they need to recognize when children are victims of domestic abuse, which makes sense considering 55% of education staff members have never undergone training to deal with such things.
The poll also found that staff in schools recognized domestic abuse victims at a higher rate than staff in kindergartens. This could be because children of kindergarten age and younger have less of an ability to communicate than older kids.
Despite this, signs to look out for are extreme mood changes, fatigue, depression and isolation in school-aged children and extreme mood changes, physical signs of violence and severe aggression in kindergarten-aged kids.
Do youths recognize domestic abuse in their friends?
While 68% of youths said that they think they know what their friends are going through even when they're not together, 74% claimed that they have never been aware that their friends are experiencing domestic violence.
Of the youths who sensed that their friends may be experiencing domestic violence, 63% checked in with their friends and nearly half of them found they were right. The other 37% didn't check if their feelings were right.
The youths who suspected domestic abuse of their friends mainly developed their suspicion from hearing phone calls between the victim and their parents. Only a third of domestic abuse victims who were approached by friends cooperated, and 8% stopped talking to the friend who approached them altogether.
Of the youths that didn't check in on their friends, most reported that they didn't act on their suspicions because they felt it wasn't their business, were embarrassed or were scared their friends would get angry with them. The polls also found that most youths didn't react the way they thought they would if they recognized domestic abuse.
All youths that recognized potential domestic abuse turned to unofficial people for help like their friends and parents, and most who never recognized domestic abuse agreed that they would do the same.
The poll concluded that there is not enough awareness of domestic abuse amongst both educational staff and youth. Raised awareness could lead to more recognition of specific cases and prevention.
The campaign was launched with a video showing six children wearing red t-shirts with abusive phrases that were said to them walking through the streets.
"600,000 children in Israel are exposed to violence against their mothers," was written at the end of the video. "Sometimes the red flags are right in front of you. Don't ignore them."