Aviva Kohlman from the Council of Women’s Organizations in Israel reports on our Israeli affiliates’ activities to prevent Violence Against Women in Israel.
The struggle to prevent Violence Against Women must be a multi-pronged effort, including appropriate legislation, education, information and resource development, women’s professional training and job opportunities, and, of course, enforcement.
Women’s organizations in Israel provide information regarding emergency numbers, the location of treatment centers, and where to turn in cases of domestic violence or other potential forms of danger. Another important campaign encourages men to turn to the centers in order to receive the professional help that will enable them to alter their behavior patterns.
WIZO is in the midst of conducting a major Research Project on the treatment of violent men in cooperation with Bar-Ilan University. As the topic of sexual harassment has been one of heightened visibility of late, WIZO has sent a report emphasizing what the organization is doing in that respect and related issues:
Prevention of Sexual Harassment
There has been a series of lectures to various bodies and organizations in order to better explain the issues involved in sexual harassment.
Special preventative programs have been designed for children, teenagers, and men. There are approximately half a million children in Israel who are suspected of being exposed to some sort of domestic violence. A program has been drawn up especially for children, which includes a relevant film. Program leaders have been trained in order to use these tools effectively.
Lectures and workshops have been held in order to increase awareness in hospitals, child clinics, and educational institutions to children who have been exposed to violence.
A special film for teenagers is used to help this age-group identify early signs of possible violence in their relationships and to build healthy interactions among teenagers. Group leaders have been trained to lead workshops and use the film effectively. These workshops are held in high schools, in the army, and in academic institutions.
Treatment of Victims
Some of the women’s organizations in Israel support and run shelters for abused women and their children. Centers for the prevention of violence in the family can be found throughout the country.
Every year approximately 500 women are forced to avail themselves of the services provided by the shelters for battered women.
There are 19 shelters for battered women in Israel. One of these is under the auspices of NA’AMAT, another member of CWOI. This shelter can accommodate 30 women with their children. The rooms, the blooming garden, the courtyard, the gymboree, the classrooms for the children all reflect the heartfelt treatment of the dedicated staff. Even the dog that was running around, which one mother and her child had brought with them when fleeing from the danger, showed how important it is for the therapists at the shelter to give the women and their children a feeling of a home in place of the home they were forced to flee and to somewhat reduce the trauma of their difficult experience.
Support Programs for Women
- Counseling and legal advice centers are supported by the women’s organizations around the country.
- EMUNAH sponsors a center that deals with domestic violence. It also trains group leaders to lead workshops for parents and for dealing with sexual issues.
- WIZO has a special program for women who are in the process of separating from their spouses.