In 2010 The Hotline for Sexually Abused Men and Boys Recieved 1,189 Calls.
In the past two years the Hotline for Sexually Abused Men and Boys has come to be considered as a professional authority by social service and welfare professionals in Israel. The Hotline is frequently approached by experts in the consultations and to present lectures at conferences and seminars.
Hotline for Sexually Abused Religious Men and Youth
Why a Special Hotline for Religious Men and Youth?
As the number of calls to the Hotline for Sexually Abused Men and Boys established in 1990 by the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center continued to rise, there was a corresponding increase in the number of religious and haredi (ultra-orthodox) men and youth who called, reaching 20% of the total calls by 2002. These calls were handled by the volunteers of the Hotline for Sexually Abused Men and Boys, though the importance of the gap between the world view of a religious or haredi caller and a secular volunteer became more and more obvious.
Callers with a very strong religious identity who were living in a very religious community often had a different set of needs and concerns than what Center volunteers were used to. There were specific issues related to their traumatic experiences that needed to be addressed with cultural and religious sensivity and with a knowledge of and respect for relevant Jewish laws, customs, and teachings.
As more religious callers began to specifically ask to speak with a religious volunteer, the need to address the issue of finding and training more religious volunteers became increasingly urgent. It was clear that it would be necessary to invest considerable time and funds in training the volunteers to better understand the outlook of the religious caller. With this in mind, the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center decided to establish a special Hotline for Sexually Abused Religious Men and Youth.
The first training course for 10 participants took place in 2003 and concluded just prior to Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). In addition to the standard 21-week training curriculum in use for all Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center volunteers, the course also focused on the study of the world of the religious and haredi victim, based on experience that had accumulated in the general Hotline for Sexually Abused Men and Boys and on discussions held by the course facilitators and participants with other professionals and rabbis.
The new Hotline for Sexually Abused Religious Men and Youth began to operate at the end of November 2003 simultaneously with a series of seminars and workshops aimed at increasing awareness of sexual abuse in the religious community, which were conducted by the new Hotlineĺs volunteers and facilitators. In 2010, there were 620 callers to this hotline.
Fulfilling Additional Important Uses
In addition to its function as an emergency service for religious sexual abuse victims and their families, and for religious educators and other professionals, the Hotline for Sexually Abused Religious Men and Youth offers one-on-one meetings, referrals for counseling and therapy, accompaniment to hospital when necessary and to the police for those who wish to file a complaint and exercise their legal rights. Finally, callers can use the Hotline as a conduit to anonymously address a religious question to poskim (rabbinical authorities who act as decision makers) concerning issues that arise as the result of sexual abuse.
The underlying concept of the Hotline for Sexually Abused Religious Men and Youth is that the victim needs to be helped to regain his sense of security and control, which has been taken from him as a result of the abuse.
We believe that the victim knows better than anyone the best road to travel towards recovery and see it as our job -- performed in a non-judgmental way and leaving as much control as possible in the hands of the victim -- to help him travel that road in a manner that empowers him to retake control of his life. These are the principles that have guided all the hotlines of the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center since its establishment in 1978.
New Immigrant Hotline
Recent immigrants to Israel, particularly those from the former Soviet Union, are relatively isolated from the general population. These immigrants have different cultural norms and often lack faith in their new environment. To better serve this population, a Russian-language counselor is available on an on-call basis and can be reached by dialing the Hotline for Women.