Some 600,000 children in Israel have witnessed domestic violence, report says

Women’s International Zionist Organization report states there are about 200,000 women victims of domestic violence in the country.

Domestic violence battered woman abuse 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Domestic violence battered woman abuse 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Some 600,000 children living in Israel today have witnessed domestic violence in their home, a report published on Wednesday revealed.
The WIZO report also stated that about 200,000 women victims of domestic violence reside in the country today.
Prof. Einat Peled of Tel Aviv University’s School of Social Work told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that children exposed to violence in the home have been statistically proven to be more likely to lack stability and experience emotional difficulties than other children.
“When you consider the children who are exposed to violence, we know that in the worst cases, the child lives in an environment of terror, fear and lack of confidence,” she explained. “Secondly, there could also be developmental issues in the fact the child is exposed to problematic models for interpersonal communication and problem solving.”
“Watching abuse take place can affect the relationship between the child and his parents,” Peled added.
“His relationship with an abusive father is problematic because of the violence, and his relationship with a mother who isn’t able to defend herself is also a problem because the child may see her as weak.”
Peled stressed, however, that these consequences vary and are more or less severe depending on the degree and frequency of the violence occurring in the home.
The WIZO study, which is based on data collected by welfare departments and law enforcement authorities, also revealed that in the past year, some 7,335 women, 1,021 children and 2,860 men were treated in 89 centers for the treatment and prevention of domestic violence across the country.
In total, about 15,000 inquiries were made to such centers this year.
Moreover, some 621 women and 1,047 children received assistance in 14 shelters for battered women this year.
According to the data, every year about 60 women who begin the process of integrating into a shelter do not stay.
The WIZO figures also showed that 17,444 cases of violence within the family were opened by police in 2013.
Out of the cases, about 11,303 had originated from complaints of violence against women. Another 657 of them were opened as a result of violations of restraining orders. The total number of such orders filed this year is 7,183.
By the end of the current year, the number of cases opened by police is expected to reach 20,000 and complaints of violence against women are estimated to rise to 13,000, according to the report.
Moreover, 19 women were murdered by their partner or a family member since November 2012 until today. In the past decade, a total of 186 women were murdered by family members.
In terms of battered women’s ability to function on a daily basis, Peled told the Post that although abuse is a strain on women’s everyday lives, some women are still able to assume their roles as mothers and working women.
In terms of medical treatment, about 4,170 women were treated in various healthcare services for injuries following domestic violence and sexual assault in 2012, the report showed. An additional 536 women who suffered such injuries refused to be treated.
“Some women don’t even ask for help,” Peled said. “In these cases we need to think of how we can make these services more accessible to them, and by accessible I mean to adapt the range of services to different cultures and different languages, for example. The aid needs to be adapted to women in different situations.”
She added that although great efforts on the subject have already been made in Israel, “we still have a way to go.”