WIZO breaking the cycle of violence with ground-breaking rule

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In December 2021, the Knesset approved a ground-breaking law in the battle against domestic violence. The new law – initiated, written and advanced by WIZO – requires judges to order Israeli men, who have had restraining orders issued against them to receive mandatory behavioural and psychological treatment. This will affect some 10,000 men each year, and will undoubtedly save lives and untold suffering to thousands of women, children and families.

This law further evidences WIZO’s crucial role at all levels in combatting such abuse. The organisation already runs the only men’s helpline of its kind, to assist violent men in taking responsibility and getting the help they need. Many violent men lack the tools they need to cope with their anger. The unprecedented advice helpline, which receives around 1000 calls every year, staffed by trained volunteers, provides initial support and encouragement and guides the men towards the next best step to deal with their anger management.

The bill, drafted by the head of WIZO’s legal aid service, was passed as a temporary order for five years and will come into effect in May 2023. This delay is required in order to recruit the dozens of social workers needed to provide a professional opinion in advance of the treatment and implement suitable treatment programmes.

This radical step was achieved by WIZO in partnership with the head of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality, MK Aida Touma-Sliman. In her statement, MK Touma-Sliman echoed the message and holistic strategy that WIZO has promoted and fought for over many years: “This law sends the message that violent men are able to stop their violent behaviour… With this law, Israel is saying that it will not only address the symptom, which is violence, but will also address the cause.”

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