Coronavirus crisis sees spike in domestic abuse in Israel

The police will therefore be carrying out regular check-ups at the homes of families in which women were feeling threatened or at risk.

Abuse (Illustrative Photo) (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Abuse (Illustrative Photo)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
There was a 5% increase in reports of domestic abuse in February compared with the same period last year, N12 news reported Thursday. The coronavirus outbreak began in February.
The police will be diligent in dealing with reports of domestic abuse, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said.
Increased social distancing together with financial stress have created a hotbed for domestic violence, according to organizations that reported the rise in abuse.
The police said they intend to monitor homes of families in which women have reported feeling threatened or at risk.
Despite several branches of welfare services being listed as essential, which allows them to operate during the coronavirus outbreak, 60% of social workers in the field of domestic abuse are not working, reported Maariv, the sister publication of The Jerusalem Post.
“These social workers perform critical and unique services that respond to populations that without regular treatment may very well be harmed or harm others,” the Social Workers Union warned the past week.
“Stopping funding of programs at local authorities these days as a result of the lack of [funding] is scandalous and irresponsible,” said Social Workers Union chair Inbal Hermoni in a letter to Shaul Meridod, head of the Finance Ministry Budget Department.
“These days, I am sure it goes without saying why the different welfare programs must continue functioning, albeit in a different format, while adjusting medically,” she wrote. “It seems as though the Finance Ministry is taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to cut welfare budgets, which are passed onto local authorities, thereby effectively hampering their ability to care for at-risk residents at all levels.”
These at-risk communities include women affected by domestic abuse, Hermoni wrote.
Joint List MK Aida Touma-Suleiman this week wrote to Welfare Minister Ofir Akunis, requesting that he  urgently support women’s shelters in light of the current crisis, Globes reported.
“The instructions of the Health Ministry and of the Prime Minister’s Office to stay home... are making relief organizations and women’s shelters face challenges they have not yet known,” she wrote.
Women’s organizations throughout the country reported a steep rise in reports of domestic abuse last year. Thirteen women were murdered in acts of domestic violence last year.