Rose case leads to rise in abuse reports

Welfare Minister Yitzhak Herzog: Citizens can provide information to authorities anonymously.

Herzog 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Herzog 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
In the wake of the suspected murder of four-year-old Rose Pizem, Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, whose ministry is responsible for caring for abused children, called on Israelis to actively report cases of abuse. The ministry's emergency hotline ordinarily receives 25 calls per day, with just two related to child abuse. In recent days, following media coverage of Rose's alleged murder at the hands of her grandfather Ronnie Ron, the number of calls jumped to 45 per day, 15 of them related to children (about half of the remainder dealt with battered women). According to Welfare Ministry figures, over 12,000 cases of child abuse were reported in 2007 alone, and 500 children were removed that year from abusive homes and taken to emergency shelters and foster homes. Some 190 children have had emergency injunctions filed to remove them from their families in the first half of 2008. "Citizens should report unusual activity targeting children and other helpless people," Herzog said on Wednesday. This could be done anonymously, he emphasized. "You don't have to identify yourself to report on suspected abuse." Herzog vowed to introduce legislation before the Knesset that would allow social service agencies and schools to report a child's disappearance to the police. Current law forbids such reporting, requiring a complaint from family members to begin an investigation. Rose was reportedly missing for several weeks before her family members, some of whom are suspected in her killing, notified police. The Welfare Ministry's emergency hotline is 1-800-22-00-00.