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WIZO helps women who are victims of domestic violence, with the ultimate goal of preparing them for an independent life.
Following the announcement of COVID 19 restrictions and confinement, WIZO moved quickly to secure the safety of women fleeing violent home environments. WIZO set up a reception center in a secret location where women, and their children, could arrive, often with only the clothes on their backs and no money.
This centre was set up in such a way that these women, already traumatised, did not need to self-isolate for 14 days. They could receive immediate care and support without exposing anyone to the risk of catching COVID19. WIZO's response was more rapid than that of the Israeli government and likely saved lives.
Domestic violence destroys thousands of families around the world.
Israel is no exception, where it is estimated today that 200,000 battered women and 600,000 children are exposed to domestic violence. In most cases these women find themselves in the most distressing situation and destitute, having decided to flee the marital home with their children. They have nowhere to take refuge.
WIZO recognized for the essential role it plays in the fight against domestic violence, manages two “shelters for battered women”, in Jerusalem and Ashdod.
“WIZO welcomed me when my life and that of my children was in great danger.
I will never forget what WIZO has done for me. WIZO is now my family.
It saved my life, it saved the lives of my children! ”*
In these safe and secure places, abused women are welcomed with their children, regardless of their religious affiliation or social condition. Each shelter accommodates 12 families (women and their children) referred to WIZO by social services, centres for the prevention and treatment of violence, the police, hospitals or one of our SOS WIZO helplines.
WIZO shelters operate according to specific rules (hygiene, eating meals at specific times, help with homework, extracurricular activities for children, etc.), and the women who find refuge there carry out all domestic tasks together. They take turns cooking, cleaning and maintaining the garden. Every fortnight, they meet to establish the menus and thus ensure the good nutrition of their children.
Within our shelters, women are taken care of and supervised by social workers, psychotherapists, psychologists and educators. These highly qualified professionals work to strengthen the self-esteem of these abused women and help them overcome their past traumas. Through group or individual therapies and various workshops, they encourage them to talk, to express what they feel and teach them to manage their new situation as a single parent family. They explain to them that, from now on, they are no longer victims, but free women .
While they are rebuilding, their children receive care and treatment tailored to each individual's needs. The older ones are educated in kindergartens and nearby schools, while the younger ones, aged 3 months to 4 years, are looked after in a kindergarten in situ.
WIZO does not “abandon” women after their stay at the shelter. WIZO follows them very closely and helps them find work.
Those who have no qualifications receive vocational training.
Those in need of further assistance are referred to WIZO's domestic violence prevention and treatment centres.
Finally, a volunteer lawyer assists them legally and accompanies them in their divorce proceedings.
* Statement from Malka who stayed in one of the WIZO shelters with her children.