As recession deepens, social workers brace for rise in domestic violence

Expert: When the economic situation turns sour, it can seriously aggravate relationships.

abuse victim 88 (photo credit: )
abuse victim 88
(photo credit: )
The growing recession could bring with it a sharp increase in domestic violence, according to social workers from both Israel and the US, who joined together here last week for a special workshop focusing on the victims of domestic violence and abuse. "Whenever the economic situation turns sour it can seriously aggravate the relationships in any family," according to Anita Altman, deputy managing director of the UJA-Federation of New York's Department of Government Relations and External affairs. "In a recession we always expect much more domestic abuse." Citing the stresses faced by families trying to survive the economic downturn both here and in the US, Altman, who was part of a 12-member delegation of social workers, lawyers and community professionals from New York, told The Jerusalem Post that social welfare programs were needed now more than ever in order to help provide increased social support during this difficult period. "Israel has a very sophisticated network of preventive measures that have been developed and are operated by the government," observed Altman, who as part of the workshop visited battered women's shelters, programs for children at risk and a center for the rehabilitation of violent men. Altman said that Israel's approach to domestic violence was unique in that it also provided counseling and help to violent men, whereas most classic approaches to domestic abuse claim that "men cannot be changed," and "focus instead on helping the women." During 2008, 13 women were murdered in Israel by their male partners. Police statistics for 2007 show more than 15,000 complaints of domestic violence carried out against women. Tzippi Nachshon-Glick, national supervisor for domestic violence at the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, who also participated in last week's workshop, said her office was currently bracing for a rise in family violence. "We have not yet seen an increase, but we are expecting a rise and we are preparing accordingly for it," she told the Post. Nachshon-Glick, who is also responsible for the development of programs to rehabilitate prostitutes, said 40 percent of the women murdered in this country were killed as a result of domestic violence. According to both Nachshon-Glick and Altman, the joint workshop which was organized by the UJA-Federation of New York, was useful in that it provided a venue for participants to share their ideas and prepare for what was expected to be a very difficult period.