WIZO submits bill for the establishment of domestic violence courts in Israel

There are currently over 300 such specialized courts operating in countries around the world.

Domestic violence (illustrative) 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Domestic violence (illustrative) 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The Women’s International Zionist Organization and Labor MK Merav Michaeli submitted a bill to the Knesset on Monday requesting the establishment of courts exclusively dedicated to dealing with domestic violence in Israel.
There are over 300 such specialized courts operating in countries around the world, including the US, the UK, Canada and Spain.
In Israel, specialized courts exist for youth, family issues and drugs.
According to WIZO, the initiative will help tighten the cooperation between law enforcement and care service in order to professionalize and improve the handling of domestic violence cases while addressing the needs of victims and perpetrators alike.
“When it comes to family, divorce and domestic violence [something is] specifically required, beyond deciding who is right and who is wrong,” Michaeli said. “Dealing with fathers, mothers and especially children suffering from violence requires expertise on how to help and protect all parties.
“Special courts for domestic violence will greatly benefit not only the person who needs them, but also our entire society in dealing with the phenomenon,” she said.
The courts, as described in the draft law proposal, will be established on the basis of “one judge for one family.”
This means that each case of domestic violence will be treated by the same judge across the legal process.
This, the bill says, will allow for better monitoring of law enforcement and treatment as well as shorten the legal process.
Additionally, in the US, the establishment of specialized courts has led to an increased participation rate of violent men in rehabilitation programs.
Chairwoman of WIZO Israel Gila Oshrat said that “the government should make a historical decision to promote the establishment of these courts, so we can significantly reduce harm to women and children and promote the rehabilitation of perpetrators.”
“This is of most important social interest,” she said.
The draft law was submitted to the Knesset during a discussion on violence toward women held on Monday in the presence of Judge Judy Harris Kluger, a US senior criminal judge of the Domestic Violence Court of the State of New York.
Last week, the Knesset had approved an amendment to National Insurance Law according to which women who had been victims of domestic violence and have been staying in shelters for battered women for over a month will receive income support from the National Insurance Institute.
In the past year, 19 women were murdered by their husbands or family members in Israel. In addition, some 11,000 investigations were launched following complaints of domestic violence and some 15,000 inquiries were made into centers for the treatment and prevention across the country.
Welfare agencies estimate that there are about 200,000 victims of domestic violence in Israel.