Report: Number of Women in Israel Murdered by Spouses Drops Sharply

Seven were murdered by their partners in 2012, so far, as opposed to 19 in 2011, says Knesset report prepared for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Police have investigated 9,663 cases involving women’s complaints of violence so far this year, says a report issued by the Knesset Research and Information Center to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Sunday.

About one-quarter of these complaints were filed by recent immigrants. Seven women were murdered by their husbands so far this year, compared with almost three times as many – 19 women – in 2011, the report notes.

Some 1,758 prisoners are serving a prison sentence for offenses related to violence in the family (including violence against children), the report states. Approximately 60 percent of them are serving sentences of five years or less. Two-thirds of the prisoners are recidivists, and for 20 percent of them, this is at least their sixth incarceration, according to the data.

The report goes on to state that 73 percent of the 968 prisoners serving time for sex crimes are Jewish. Of the 969 sex offenders, 161 were convicted of incest (about 17 percent); of these, 75 percent are Jewish (121).

The Social Affairs Ministry reported that in 2011, 14,500 women applied for first-time assistance at centers for protection from family violence, a 16 percent rise from the previous year. Ministry director-general Nahum Itzkovitz said that “the rise in the number of applicants reflects growing public awareness of the problem.”

During 2011, some 11,750 people were admitted to the 88 centers for protection from family violence in the family operated by the ministry. Of these, 67 percent of these were women, 26 percent were men and 7 percent were children. Fourteen percent of those admitted were Arabs, the ministry reported.

The Israeli healthcare system reported 4,761 cases of family violence and sexual assault against women during 2011. This number was compiled from reports by hospitals, health maintenance organizations and family health centers.

During the first half of 2012, 4,030 persons applied for assistance at one of the organizations providing assistance to victims of sexual assault; of these, 89 percent were women (approximately 3,570). Nearly two-thirds of those that sought help and provided their age were minors at the time they were attacked. The most common offenses reported were rape and sodomy. Among minors, the most common complaints cited were incest and sexual assault in the family. Thirty percent of those who contacted the centers reported that they were victimized by a family member.

About 200,000 Israeli women currently suffer physical abuse from their partners, while 600, 000 children are witness to this type of violence in their families, according to estimates by WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization.

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Alon Ron