Jerusalem opens multidisciplinary child abuse recovery center

"We are striving to create the first-ever research and treatment center for maltreated kids."

Child abuse (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Child abuse (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The Haruv Children’s Campus, an unprecedented global child abuse recovery center combining research and treatment methodologies across an array of disciplines, will officially open on Monday at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on Mount Scopus.
Located directly across the street from the main entrance to Hadassah University Medical Center, dozens of construction workers on Sunday installed the final touches to the sprawling campus, which will include emergency treatment, therapeutic facilities and child advocacy assistance.
Prof. Asher Ben Arieh, director of the Haruv Institute, the leading authority on child abuse in Israel, said the campus houses seven organizations working jointly on all aspects of identifying, diagnosing, and treating neglected children.
“This multi-disciplinary campus provides a holistic, child-centered approach to treating, studying and addressing the global issue of child abuse, and creates new opportunities for groundbreaking collaboration between institutes and organizations in Israel, and around the world,” said Ben Arieh.
“Child abuse and neglect occurs in all sectors of society, and has a destructive impact on growth and development. We are striving to create the first-ever comprehensive research and treatment center for maltreated children, based on the widely- admired university hospital model.”
Ben Arieh continued: “The campus will attract top researchers, professionals and students from Israel and abroad, creating opportunities to affect real change for at-risk children.”
Twenty children between the ages of four and 16 will live in the center, while over 100 children will attend day clinics featuring counseling, clinical treatment and child abuse investigations.
The planning and design of the campus were carried out to reflect its emphasis on addressing the needs of children and families, said Ben Arieh.
“Throughout the campus, calming elements have been introduced, such as pools of water, pastoral greenery and play areas created from natural materials,” he said.
“The interior spaces have colorful playrooms, work areas that provide privacy and a school and kindergarten for children at the emergency center.”
According to the World Health Organization, every fourth child worldwide is a victim of child abuse. Within Israel, about 400,000 youth are considered at-risk.
In 2015, there were an estimated 44,000 new cases of child abuse reported, with every third Israeli child suffering some form of neglect. Among that population, 20% were children with special needs, and 11% suffered sexual abuse.
The problem is so acute, that Ben Arieh said child services workers routinely deal with unmanageable levels of caseloads.
He noted that the Mount Scopus campus was selected for its strategic location and general accessibility, adding that it is close to ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities, and offers a culturally sensitive approach to its work with these disparate populations.
The Haruv Institute, which spearheaded the initiative, was aided financially by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; JDC-Israel; the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry; the National Insurance Institute; and the Jerusalem Municipality Welfare Services.
The NIS 50 million campus will house the Schusterman Emergency Center; the Beit Lynn Child Protection Center; the Israel National Council for the Child; the Center for Treatment of Sexually Abused Children; the Israel Medical Stimulation Center; the Municipal Child Welfare Center; and the Goshen Program for Comprehensive Child Health.
“Ever since its founding in 2007, Haruv has served as a beacon of hope and a source of strength for victims of child abuse and their families,” said Lynn Schusterman, founder and co-chairwoman of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.
“It has been a forceful advocate for those least able to defend themselves, and it has trained thousands of professionals responsible for preventing and treating abuse and neglect. The opening of the Haruv Children’s Campus ushers in the next phase of this critically important mission, and is a striking example of how Haruv has grown to become an international center of excellence in its field.”
David Schizer, CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee called the campus a “major step in the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect in Israel and beyond.”
“It champions a holistic approach, ensuring critical players in this field can learn from and inform each other’s success, something we understand full well from our own work in Israel,” Schizer said.
“We’re proud of our partnership with the Haruv Institute and the Schusterman Family Foundation to once again foster innovation of new program models to support Israel’s most vulnerable community.”