Photo: Meir Azoulai
Domestic violence. In haredi and Arabic societies as well (Illustaration photo)
Photo: Meir Azoulai

Report: Domestic violence on the rise

Ministry of Social Affairs report reveals sharp increase in number of teen girls reporting sexual abuse, domestic violence in last five years; significant rise in haredi, Arab societies. Statistics represent need for alternative therapeutic frameworks, ministry officials says

Disturbing statistics. The last five years saw an increase of 55 percent in the number of teenage girls seeking help on matters of domestic violence, a report of the Teenage Girls Service at the Ministry of Social Affairs relayed to Ynet Thursday reveals.


The data also indicated a sharp increase of 60 percent in the number of violent incidents reported in the haredi sector, and of 37 percent in the Arabic public, this in comparison with statistics from the year 1999.


The Ministry of Social Affairs and the Elem foundation for youth in distress presented the alarming information during an opening ceremony of the Adi Center for teen girls in trouble.


According to the ministry's statistics, the most significant rise in girls' distress was expressed in the number of reports on sexual abuse, an increase of 21 percent in the last five years, and of domestic violence – an increase of 55.5 percent during the same period.


Eating disorders is another worrying phenomenon among teens. Approximately 11 percent more girls requested assistance on such problems in 2005, compared with 1999.


A substantially larger number of young girls, an increase of 79 percent, ran away from home in the past year.


The large increase in reports on violence in both the haredi and Arab sectors of society represents a positive process the two sectors have been going through, ministry officials explain.


While in the past, problems of domestic violence were considered taboo and went unreported, nowadays there is greater willingness to acknowledge and deal with such problems.


Optimistic data refers to the number of unwanted pregnancies, which went down by 23 percent in the last half-decade, and of suicide attempts among teen girls, which decreased by seven percent.


Alternative solutions needed


This significant rise in the number of girls in distress has created a need for providing alternative solutions and expanding the existing solutions to these problems, a ministry source stated.


Ilanit Barbi, the director of the newly-founded Adi center for girls, explained that "there are currently no appropriate frameworks for girls in the community, which can provide both an alternative for school and for home. As a result of this, more and more girls end up wandering the streets, and their situation consequently worsens."


Zion Gabbai, director of the Elem foundation told Ynet that "recently there is increasing understanding that teenage girls need special therapeutic and social attention, and that there are no sufficient community resources and treatment means for them at present."


"The Adi project grants these girls treatment within the community, without being separated from their families and close environment. Our goal is to keep them a part of normative society," he concluded.


פרסום ראשון: 11.03.05, 21:09
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