Wednesday, March 18, 2009

First all-encompassing Israeli center for child abuse

Israel's first all-encompassing center for child and teen victims of sexual and physical abuse will open Tuesday as a separate department at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

Based on the successful US model, where currently 600 such centers are in operation, Beit Lynn will provide abuse victims between the ages of three and 18 with a wide range of services and therapy, including social welfare and legal services.

Its creation is based on a law passed last year, which calls for six more such centers to be set up.

"This is the first center of its kind to be established in Israel, and bringing together medical staff with other responders will provide the capacity to give treatment quickly and effectively in the most traumatic of cases," said Prof. Ze'ev Rotstein, Sheba Medical Center's director-general.

Funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, together with the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services, Sheba Medical Center, NGO Ashalim, the Israel Police Force and contributions from the ministries of health, justice and education, the new center aims to streamline the initial process rape victims must undergo, whether their attacker is a family member or a stranger.

In the past, victims were forced to visit each office independently, usually being carted around by their parents from the hospital to the police station and on to social workers and lawyers.

The new center will bring all these elements together under one roof, with all first responders sharing information and easing the trauma for the victim.[...]

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