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Types of Violence / Scope

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he counsellor at my daughter’s school told me she suspects that my child is being sexually abused . After a “heart-to-heart” with my daughter she told me that my cohabitee had tried to fondle her on several occasions, but she managed to get away. I suspect even more. When I confronted him, he denied it, but then moved out. My daughter is now starting to tell me the whole story and we will probably go to the police. I want to be sure he gets maximum punishment for exploiting the family situation and trust he had. Is this possible ?

Violence Types of Violence / Scope

A cohabitee , as well as a married spouse, is regarded as a “family member” under the 1977 Penal Act relating to sexual offences against a minor and, if guilt is proved, then he qualify for the more severe grade of punishment applicable to family members for the particular offence.

Furthermore, if his guilt is proved, a civil wrong plea for financial compensation can be filed, for the emotional damage suffered as a result of the offence.

I am at my wit’s end. My wife and I have split up and I have filed for divorce. My mother-in-law is driving me crazy. She doesn’t want me to “abandon” her daughter and blitzes my offices with e-mails and telephone calls begging me not to be so cruel. She leaves endless messages on my mobile and I can’t answer my phone at home for fear of her being at the other end. I can’t seem to lead a normal life. Is her behaviour legal and what legal steps can I take to stop her bugging me ?

Violence Types of Violence / Scope

A mother-in-law qualifies under the category of a “family member” for the purposes of the Prevention of Violence In the Family Act of 1991, under which an order could be applied for to prevent her pestering you by phone, fax, e-mail etc. The act covers not only physical violence but also this kind of harassment,which is illegal .

Can an order be granted against a husband/father where there is emotional – but not physical – violence within the family ?

Violence Types of Violence / Scope

Yes. The Supreme Court held in the 1990’s that ‘emotional’ violence alone can justify an order keeping a husband/ father away in extreme cases. In one case it remarked that emotional cruelty, humiliation and suppression can be more difficult than physical violence, depending on the circumstances . In another case it said: ‘ Tension, distress , and anxiety ( ‘ emotional violence’ ) can ,even themselves, be used as a basis for a protection order but this is only in extreme cases’. However, an order preventing the alleged perpetrator from entering the home is usually only given where there is no physical violence if the court has warned the alleged perpetrator and he/she has not taken any notice.

In a case in 1998 as part of a plea for maintenance and ‘ quiet living’ at the Tel Aviv family court a wife succeeded in having the ex-parte order preventing her husband from entering the home left in force. The court accepted evidence brought showing that the husband had ignored the court’s warning to refrain from emotional violence and had continued to make life for the wife and children unbearable to the point where their well-being was in danger.

My husband has never hit me but constantly criticizes, humiliates and shouts at me in front of the children. He also goes mad at them all the time when they do something ‘wrong’. Is his behaviour acceptable in the eyes of the law or can I do anything against it ?

Violence Types of Violence / Scope

Constant criticism, humiliation and shouting are forms of what the Supreme Court has recognized as ‘emotional violence’ and are regarded as unacceptable . In extreme cases this negative behaviour alone – in the absence of physical violence – can justify an order being granted to keep the perpetrator out of the family home . Orders can be made against the husband in cases of emotional violence as part of a wife’s plea for ‘ quiet living’( prevention orders ) or under the Prevention of Family Violence Act of 1991 (protection orders) .


What kind of ‘physical’ behaviour is unacceptable within the family under Israeli law and is regarded as domestic violence ?

Violence Types of Violence / Scope

Varying degrees of physical force such as  shaking, pushing, grabbing, slapping, biting,scratching,hitting,kicking, etc, progressing in severity through serious forms of assault, right up to the level of manslaughter and murder, as listed under the 1977 Penal Act.

Regarding sex, even within the legal framework of marriage, there can be sexual violence e.g. where a husband rapes his wife and the act of intercourse, which is legal within itself, is forced i.e. without consent.

Other more common examples of sexual abuse within the family include indecent assault of various kinds, rape and sodomy of minors by a parent, elder sibling or relative. All the sexual offences are listed in the 1977 Penal Act.

All the above forms of physical/sexual violence are deemed ‘domestic violence’ where there take place ‘within the family’.


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