The Special Committee for the Rights of the Child, released its 2019 report on the implementation of the law for assisting minors who are victims of sexual offenses or violence.

Chava Levy of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services presented the report and said that in 2019, designated protection centers handled 5,889 cases of physical or sexual attacks against minors. The number of such cases has increased from the previous year, but 2020 has seen a drop in the number of cases, apparently due to the corona crisis, although the centers have remained open throughout it, she told the committee.

Levy said the law obligates the ministry to establish eight protection centers, but currently there are only seven centers that are operating. Another center is scheduled to open in Ramat Gan in 10 days, she said.

Attorney Liron Eshel of the National Council for the Child noted that the protection centers’ employees are dressed in civilian and “non-threatening” attire, and the centers “look more like a kindergarten than a police station.” She stressed the importance of the protection centers in preventing recurring attacks on the victims.

“We must raise the public’s awareness of these centers, so that minors and their families will know about them and will turn to them, and also so that every welfare or police element, from the desk sergeant to the investigator, will know to refer the victims to the centers.”