Due to the lack of funds, the Special Treatment Room for Victims of Sexual Abuse at the Soroka Medical Center is not regularly staffed although rape victims from all over Southern Israel are sent to it. The Director of the Victim Crisis Center said: “Women are losing faith in the system.”
Illustration Photo credit: Shutterstock/ Channel 2 News
The Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva has the only treatment center in Southern Israel that takes care of victims of sexual abuse. However, due to the lack of funds, the Special Treatment Room is often found understaffed. The harsh reality is that rape victims in the midst of a difficult and terrible time are sent to Central Israel for treatment.
The room contains proper equipment and is managed by trained medical staff who have undergone necessary vocational training particularly for the treatment of rape victims. The team has the responsibility of being the initial mental response for the assault victims as well as being in charge of collecting physical evidence that is admissible in a courtroom.
In most cases when the treatment room is unmanned, the women who were sexually assaulted are sent to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. Just recently, there were two cases where women refused to go there in order to get tested and receive the preventative care both because of the distance and because of the heavy emotional burden after the severe trauma.
Soroka Medical Center Photo credit: Flash 90/ Channel 2 News
The Victim Crisis Center has requested that Health Minister Yaakov Litzman urgently intervene. The Center claims that victims avoiding the trip to Central Israel may result in evidence not being collected in severe assault cases.
The letter sent by the Director of the Victim Crisis Center states: “Women living in Southern Israel hear that the room is unavailable and lose faith in the system. In some cases, they don’t even look for help after hearing there are no other solutions in the area.”
In response, the Soroka Medical Center stated: “Treatment at Soroka for victims of sexual abuse is given by staff in accordance with the budget granted by the Health Ministry. Unfortunately, the budget of the Health Ministry does not cover operations throughout the month.”
The Health Ministry stated in response: “The treatment center at Soroka has been funded since its opening day. However, about a year ago, the hospital management said the budget is not enough to finance the operation of the center fully throughout the week. The hospital management runs the center partially and on days when it doesn’t operate, victims are referred to Wolfson.”