Cases of domestic violence in Israel skyrocket by 315% in the first year of the pandemic, study shows

The number of reports of domestic violence between spouses in Israel increased by 315 percent in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published Sunday.

Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which takes place on November 25, the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) publishes an annual report. As part of its investigation, WIZO collected data from government ministries, the State Comptroller’s office, the Israel Police, and the Israel Prison Service.

WIZO data showed that 26 women were killed in Israel in 2020, compared to 17 in 2019. There was also a massive increase in the number of relief calls made to the 118 domestic violence hotline, from 2,286 calls in 2019 to 5,866 calls a year later. , an increase of 157%. Of these, more than half were cases of spousal violence, also known as intimate partner violence; The number of calls related to spousal violence went from 688 calls in 2019 to 2,853 calls in 2020, an increase of 315%.

According to Rivka Neumann, director of WIZO’s Division for the Advancement of Women, the rise in domestic violence was felt across all sectors of Israeli society and was directly related to the pandemic.

“Wherever you look, it’s like someone has lit a fire,” Neumann told The Media Line. “During the confinements, the women and children were trapped inside the houses with an abusive person.”

“There was no way they were going out and they couldn’t go to school or work,” he said. “This combination of locking people inside and being [in close proximity] a violent man resulted in an increase in cases of domestic violence. “

Overall, the Israel Police recorded 20,140 crimes of violence and threats that took place between couples in 2020, an increase of 11.6% over the previous year.

Of the 26 women murdered in 2020, 13 were killed at the hands of their partners, compared to 5 in 2019. In particular, 4 of the 13 women had previously filed a complaint with the police before being killed and 31.2% of the suspects were killed. already known to the police.

“We find much more serious cases,” Neumann said. “The financial difficulties, being forced to stay indoors, all these internal and external crises linked to the pandemic led to families that had never had problems before entering this cycle of violence.”

Cases of domestic violence also increased during the same period for male victims. In fact, there was a 43% increase in these types of complaints, from 1,003 in 2019 to 1,431 in 2020.

While Neumann is hopeful that these worrying numbers will improve in the coming years as restrictions related to the pandemic are eased, he argued that the damage caused in 2020 would have repercussions for years to come. Also, those affected by PTSD or PTSD will require a lot of help.

“Trauma is like a wound: if you don’t take care of it, it will become infected and spread,” he explained. “I call on the Israeli government to take up these findings and translate them in the long term [programs] because we have many more families that have entered the cycle of violence and we are seeing new types of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. “

Similarly, WIZO World President Anita Friedman also called on the Israeli government to intensify efforts to combat what she called a “real plague.”

“Another woman murdered; another stomach-churning story, “Friedman said in a statement provided to The Media Line.

“If the state is not upset by each of these murders, if a state of national emergency is not declared, and if government ministers’ schedules are not suspended in a national effort to stop the bloodshed and suffering that ensues. it is transmitting from generation to generation, so we have failed as a society, ”he said.

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