Sad, abused, boy (illustrative)
Sad, abused, boy (illustrative)iStock

In the past year, there has been an 8% rise in the number of child abuse incidents reported to the Welfare Ministry, Maariv reported.

In 2018, there were 50,976 reports of child abuse, up from 47,447 reports in 2017 and 28,203 reports in 2016, a Labor and Welfare Ministry report showed.

The annual report, published Monday morning by youth social workers, showed reports received by the 722 youth social workers who work to protect minors and other helpless individuals in local authorities' Welfare Departments.

Boys were the victims in over half the abuse cases (53.1%), while girls were the victims in 46.9% of instances.

Most of the instances of abuse occurred at home and were perpetrated by the children's parents. In 71% of cases, the perpetrator was a person of authority in the family, while in 4.1% of cases the perpetrator was not a relative of the victim.

The report also showed that in 11,404 instances (22.4% of reports), the concerns of abuse were regarding disabled children. In addition, there were 731 reports of child addiction and 792 reports of minors involved in criminal activities, as well as a total of 1,176 reports (2.5%) of minors who attempted to commit suicide. Nevertheless, the most common reasons for reporting were neglect (30.6% of reports), physical abuse (11,633 cases, or 24.8% of reports), sexual abuse (5,461 cases, or 11.7%), or emotional abuse (3,425 cases, or 7.3%).

Maariv quoted attorney Vered Windman, Director-General of the National Council for the Child, as saying: "The findings of this report do not only show the extraordinary distress of all the children who suffered sexual abuse, violence, and neglect, but also the distress of the welfare system in Israel and its limited ability to provide these children with protection and treatment. The Welfare Ministry and the government, which holds general responsibility, have an obligation to children."

Chava Levi, head Youth Law social worker, told Maariv: "This year we mark 30 years to the amendment of the law which defined the obligation to report, which obligates every person and professional, including doctors, educators, and those treating a child, to report abuse of a minor if there is concern of such."

"Throughout the years, we have seen a consistent rise in the number of reports, where people are fulfilling their legal obligation. This allows Youth Law social workers to reach the minors who suffer neglect and abuse and to provide protection and treatment to children at high risk, throughout all hours of the day and throughout the year, with dedication and sometimes personal endangerment."

While both mothers and fathers can abuse children, statistics show that mothers are more likely than fathers to severely abuse or neglect their children.

In addition, nearly a third of infant and child fatalities are perpetrated by the mother acting alone, while over 20% more are perpetrated by the mother and father acting together. On the other hand, in just 15% of infant and child fatalities, the father acted alone.