My husband has finally left home for a “breather” after the children and myself have been suffering physical and emotional abuse at his hands for a long time. I want to bring legal action against him and prevent him returning home. The problem is proving the abuse we suffered , as there are no real independent witnesses, and the children are minors and now my husband is not around to record on a tape recorder I have at home .Violence •Protection Available
Firstly, children can give evidence and in civil proceedings at the family court the judge can see them privately in chambers. As children in a family dispute are prone to incitement or influence from the other parent, although the weight attributed to their testimony will be less than that of an independent witness. Furthermore, recordings of phone conversations and proper transcripts of these can be acceptable as evidence, too. Having said this, it is only in exceptional circumstances that the court will allow minor children to give evidence against one parent, because of the implications that this would be likely to have on their relationship with the parent against whom they give evidence
I was sexually abused as a child by a relative. I now want to press charges against him. Is there any time limit on this ?Violence •Protection Available
Yes. The Penal Law was amended in 2002 in relation to this. An alleged victim of sexual offences committed against him/her as a child has ten years after reaching adulthood to act i.e. until the age of 28. However, if the alleged offence took place more than 10 years ago, then the state will only press charges with the approval of the Attorney General. This is the position regarding offences which under the previous law had not become ‘outdated’ and subject to the Statute of Limitations, on 20/11/2002, when the amendment was published.
What is the maximum jail sentence that can be given against someone who sexually assaults a family member under the age of 18 ?Violence •Protection Available
Following the passing of proposed amendments to the 1977 Penal Law in November 2002 on their second and third readings in the Israeli parliament, the maximum jail sentence for such an offence has been increased from 16 to 20 years.
Can a court that grants a wife and children a protection order include financial penalties against the father if he breaks various undertakings it obliges him to make ?Violence •Protection Available
Yes, under the 1991 Prevention of Violence Within The Family Act, the court has discretion to attach conditions to its orders. For example, a few years ago The Jerusalem Family Court gave a wide-ranging protection order against a husband/father. It banned him from entering the family home for a month, and forbad him from trying to prevent his family gaining access, and from harassing them for a period of three months. It said that he must deposit a written guarantee to pay his wife a sum of money, if anytime during the coming year, the court held that he had beached these undertakings.
Will a court grant an order banning a husband/father from the family home if there is a religious festival or holiday on the horizon ?Violence •Protection Available
Yes, the fact that family members tend to be at home together, which increases the potential for conflict where the relationships are problematic, makes it more vital to issue an protection in time to cover a religious festival or holiday, where grounds for its granting are proved. The Jerusalem Family Court issued a protection order, keeping the emotionally violent husband/father out of the family home for a month, as a matter of urgency shortly before Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). It covered the annual Succot (Feast of Tabernacles ) holiday period, too.
What factors does the court take into account in family violence cases when it decides whether to take immediate action ?Violence •Protection Available
Israeli courts have adopted a model for the detection of a ‘dangerous’ family framework which was developed by the Social Services department. The parameters used for the detection of dangerous family frameworks include: the severity of the violent act, the frequency of violence, the degree of reconciliation afterwards, which family members are victims, the relationship between perpetrator and victim(s), the perpetrator’s emotional disturbance, the family members’ perceptions of risk , the victim(s) emotional state, the degree of admission/denial of violence by the perpetrator, suitability of the perpetrator for therapy and degree of accessibility of the perpetrator to weapons and his addictiveness.
How does the court decide how far a perpetrator of family violence should be kept away from the family ?Violence •Protection Available
In a family violence case The Tel Aviv Family Court stated in 1998 that it had adopted a model for identifying and dealing with different degrees of danger that family violence posed. The model, developed by the Social Services department, recommends that the perpetrator be ordered to keep away from the settlement/town in which the family at risk lives when the danger is rated as high. Where the model identifies the family violence as posing a medium-risk an order can be made just to keep the perpetrator from entering/approaching the home. In both cases treatment is recommended and the perpetrator is supposed to be banned from holding a weapon.
The family court granted an order preventing me from entering our home for several months because it held that my behaviour made life for my wife and children unbearable although I was not physically violent to them . It ordered me to attend a special programme for violent men. Is there a chance that I will be allowed back home if I attend this and do well ?Violence •Protection Available
Yes, there is a chance that a family court can cancel an order it has made forbidding a man from entering the home before it expires – if he has actively participated in a rehabilitation program and the reports/recommendations are favourable. It should be stressed that each case is considered on its merits.
Where a child complains of sexual harassment when visiting the non-custodial parent and his/her family, can the court order visitation rights to be stopped when it deals with an application for a protection order ?Violence •Protection Available
Yes – according to a judgment by the Tel Aviv Family Court in the Summer of 1999 when dealing with an application for a protection order for a minor child who was sexually harassed by his paternal grandfather while staying in the later’s home with his father during weekend ‘visitation’. It gave an order forbidding both the father and the grandfather from harassing the boy in any way at all, in any place. To guarantee that they obeyed the order and ensure the minor’s safety, it suspended all weekend visitation rights.
What action can be taken against my ex-lover who keeps ‘tailing’ me, turning up everywhere I go and phoning me constantly on my mobile ? She won’t leave me alone. I’m so on edge that I cannot sleep and lead a normal life .Violence •Protection Available
The Anti-Stalking Law of 2001 is designed to combat the behaviour you described. It is designed to tackle non-physical violence,‘threatening harassment’ or ‘stalking’ which prevents a person leading a normal life . The act defines and recognises certain types of behaviour as ‘emotional harassment/violence’. Under this legislation it is possible to get an injunction preventing the stalker from entering somebody’s home, place of work/study etc. Orders against the stalker can be given for up to 6 months, and can be renewed for up to 2 years.
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