by Ruth Sinai (Haaretz)
October 29, 2007
The National Council for the Child reports a steep rise in recent weeks in the number of requests for help from child sexual assault victims and their parents. Council head Yitzhak Kadman found that 30 percent of the new requests came from the ultra-Orthodox community, which had previously almost never contacted the organization about sexual assault.
The council provides volunteers, usually law students, who accompany sexual assault victims through the process of filing a police complaint, the investigation and criminal proceeding. More than 1,500 children have been helped in the seven years since this project began.
Kadman said that over the past few weeks, the council had fielded dozens of requests per week. Callers are referred to the council by police, juvenile investigators from the Social Affairs Ministry, welfare offices, doctors, schools and other community facilities.
Kadman sees the awakening of the Haredi sector as a real "breach of barriers." Contrary to expectation, the Haredim who apply for help do not want a Haredi volunteer to assist them, nor do they care whether the volunteer is a man or woman, Kadman said.