Supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Israel

Violence against women has been on the rise in Israel in recent years, with a 50% increase in murders in 2022 and an exponential surge in reports of domestic violence during the pandemic. In addition, the country’s rate of sexual violence against women is about 10% higher than the average among peer nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to Israel’s Ministry of Public Security.

Given these sobering statistics, the Weinberg Foundation invests significantly in the prevention and early detection of intimate partner violence, as well as support for women who survive domestic abuse or sexual violence, including emergency housing and centers that provide counseling and other services. This includes collaborating with key organizations and partners to transform how these issues are addressed throughout the country and to expand established programs to reach more women and children.

In 2020, the Foundation helped launch Israel’s first collaborative effort on intimate partner violence that engages the nonprofit, business, and government sectors. A grant to Sheatufim — which philanthropists and social entrepreneurs established to promote holistic, multisectoral approaches to solving societal challenges — enabled the organization to concentrate on prevention and early detection. This groundbreaking initiative recently launched a fund to support efforts that address both of these areas.

Building on these efforts, the Foundation has teamed up with two organizations this year: the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel and the Domestic Violence Shelter Forum. Grants to these entities will allow centers and shelters, respectively, to continue providing much-needed services to those who desperately need them — and help ensure more equitable funding for smaller centers and shelters that operate in the geographic periphery and often lack capacity to apply for individual grants.

Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel

The grant to the association will support this umbrella organization and the nine regional rape crisis centers throughout Israel, which cumulatively served over 50,500 survivors in 2021. Over the past two years, the centers have experienced a 10% increase in clients, with projected continued growth of at least 5% per year due to significant increases in reported sexual violence because of the pandemic lockdowns. The association will align best practices and resources, allowing the centers to provide services to survivors of sexual violence, including 24/7 phone hotlines and WhatsApp chats (in 2021, inquiries into the app saw a 189% increase — from 501 to 1,449); assistance throughout the legal process with police, prosecutors’ offices, and court proceedings; and weekly yoga, running, and art therapy groups.

Domestic Violence Shelter Forum

Founded in 2015 to unite the leaders of the 15 domestic violence shelters throughout Israel, the forum aims to strengthen relationships among the shelters and advance their shared agenda of meeting the needs of women and their children. Each shelter can accommodate up to 12 women and their kids at any given time, in addition to providing counseling, assistance with accessing benefits, job training and placement, and a range of services for the children. The shelters serve about 760 women and 1,100 children annually.

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