One in six Israeli children is at risk of domestic violence, according to a report by a government ministry published Thursday.
The Welfare Ministry survey, which highlights the worrying increase in the number of domestic violence cases since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, estimates that violence — physical, verbal or otherwise — is prevalent in no less than 200,000 Israeli households, home to some 600,000 children.
According to ministry data, some 7,977 complaints were received regarding domestic violence in 2021, a staggering 10% increase compared to the previous year.
The report adds that out of the thousands of complaints received, no less than 1,649 were linked to violence against underaged children.
The ministry further stated that in 2020, police opened no less than 33,020 domestic violence cases, of which 3,773 involved a minor as a victim, and the increase in said cases forced the state to open an additional shelter for at-risk women and children.
Even with such worrying data, professionals believe that there is a severe under-reporting of violence against children, and the situation only worsened during the pandemic.
"The voice of these transparent children must be heard," said Tali Weisman, head of the children's welfare program at Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO).
"When a child is exposed to violence... His or her whole reality is shaken," she added.
"They find themselves in a conflict of loyalty that can undermine their own self-image in relationships. The house turns into a minefield that can explode at any minute."