Bill Would Mandate State Compensation for Child Abuse Victims

Money would then be recouped from offender; proponents hope to spare victims the trauma of long legal proceedings

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

A bill obligating the state to compensate minors who suffered physical or sexual abuse is expected to receive Knesset approval at its preliminary reading tomorrow. It won coalition backing on Sunday.

The measure, drafted by MK Orli Levy (Yisrael Beiteinu ) is aimed at removing the victim's dependence on the perpetrator for compensation, and to allow the victim to afford medical and psychological treatment without having to force the offender to produce the money.

Under the bill, the minor would receive compensation within 30 days of registering with the National Insurance Institute.

The National Council for the Child, a non-profit organization involved in drafting the initiative, said it sees 150 to 250 cases a year in which minors cannot collect court-ordered compensation and therefore cannot afford psychological or medical treatment.

The organization cited the case of a women raped seven years ago, when she was 15, who has yet to receive NIS 50,000 in compensation, and a 14-year-old gang-rape victim who had been paid damages by only three of the eight offenders.

It also cited the case of an 18-year-old girl raped by her father who has yet to see the NIS 20,000 in court-ordered compensation, even though a lien was placed on his bank account.

The cabinet justified its support for the measure by noting its relatively low cost, estimated at NIS 3 million a year at most.

"This bill is of utmost importance to children who have fallen victim to physical and sexual violence, and are in need of psychological treatment and possibly even cosmetic medical procedures. The compensation will help their parents pay for these expensive treatments," Levy said yesterday.

"The court issued a detailed report to former Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann stating that the program's maximum cost - should the state find itself unable to collect any of the compensation at all - is estimated at NIS 3 million," she said. "I believe this is a sum we can afford. I'm glad the Ministerial Committee for Legislation has shown humanity in approving this bill. Ultimately it will prove itself economically beneficial in that it will grant assistance to young victims, who will grow up to be normative, productive citizens."

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