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Welfare Ministry official says coordination key to reducing violence against children
Ruth Eglash
09/04/2008
Itzkovitz: When each office works separately, information "falls through the cracks."
Increased coordination among the various government bodies working with children at risk and to prevent domestic violence is the only way to reduce the current cycle of abuse and murders, according to Welfare and Social Services Ministry Director-General Nachum Itzkovitz. "This is a known problem and it is nothing new," Itzkovitz told The Jerusalem Post Thursday. "Each office - health, education, social welfare and police - is working at its own pace, with its own tools and policies. It means that certain information falls through the cracks." Speaking following the murders of three four-year-old children in separate incidents at the hands of their parents, Itzkovitz said his ministry had already started holding intense talks with other government offices, including the Israel Police, to examine ways to improve cooperation. "The ministry is currently preparing to launch a campaign encouraging all those involved in working with children to share information and to encourage the public to come forward with knowledge about any form of child abuse," he said, adding, "These three cases are tragic, and I hope there will not be any more." On Tuesday, 31-year-old Regina Kruchkov was arrested by Tel Aviv police after she admitted to drowning her son Michael, 4, in the bathtub. The previous week, a Rishon Lezion woman, Olga Borisov, drowned her four-year-old son, Alon, in the sea and, a few days earlier, details of the murder of Rose Pizem, also 4, by her grandfather last May came to light. Itzkovitz also said he hoped non-government organizations would not take advantage of the wave of violence to promote their agendas, and urged the public to use only the official hot-lines to report any possible abuse or violence in their community. Those manning the phones at the official help-line centers are briefed on how to pass on information to the authorities so that follow-ups by social workers, paramedics or police can take place. In addition, Itzkovitz said "people could always call police in an emergency or municipality hot-lines to reach their local social services for assistance." "While I respect the work of non-government organizations that offer the public various support services, often these additional hot-lines end up confusing people," he said.
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