44,000 reports of child abuse in 2015, Welfare Ministry says
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44,000 reports of child abuse in 2015, Welfare Ministry says

Three out of four alleged perpetrators are family members, report says; one in five victims has special needs

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

A nurse carries a suspected victim of abuse by his mother, Jerusalem,  July 26, 2009. (Abir Sultan/Flash90)
A nurse carries a suspected victim of abuse by his mother, Jerusalem, July 26, 2009. (Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Social workers received some 44,000 complaints of physical, sexual and emotional harm to children last year, according to a report published Thursday by the Welfare and Social Services Ministry.

Around one-quarter of the reports were about physical abuse and 11 percent referred to sexual abuse. One-third of complaints alleged neglect.

One out of every five suspected victims had special needs, the report said. Of these, three-quarters suffered from mental or emotional difficulties, and 11% were categorized as being of limited intelligence.

Three out of four suspected perpetrators were family members, the report said.

A parent suspected of child abuse sits at Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on November 4, 2013. (Roni Schutzer/FLASH90)
A parent suspected of child abuse sits at Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on November 4, 2013. (Roni Schutzer/FLASH90)

Around 1,700 children were removed from their homes by court orders, while in 1,300 cases, the courts ordered that the minors stay at home, but under social workers’ supervision.

This reflected a change in approach among social workers, with more favoring leaving children in the familiar surroundings of their home, while working with the children and their parents.

Welfare Minister Haim Katz called on the public to be alert to signs of distress in children and report any suspicious cases to the authorities.

The report noted that the reporting methods had recently changed, making it difficult to compare the 2015 figures with previous years.

At the same time, it offered a comparison, saying that in 2013 there were 50,000 reports of harm to children, of which 15,500 were about physical harm, 6,000 about sexual abuse and 12,000 about neglect.

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