Abuse or neglect of the elderly is recognized worldwide as a social and health problem which causes much harm and suffering to elderly people and their families. During the 1990’s a series of new laws was passed in Israel, requiring heightened involvement of professionals and caregivers, in order to protect the welfare and safety of the elderly. These laws include: Chok Ha’onshin, Pgi’a b’Chasrei Yesha (Penal Code, Harming Vulnerable Individuals, 1989); Hachok L’mniat Alimut Bamishpacha (Law for the Prevention of Violence in the Family), 1991; Chok Hagana al Hachosim (The law for the defense of wards) and others. These laws are the tools used by professionals for dealing with the abuse and neglect of the elderly.
1. Social services – in every local council there is a social service office where you can consult with social workers who specialize in care for the elderly, or welfare officers who are social workers legally appointed to intervene for elderly people at risk (by reporting to the authorities, appointing a guardian, applying for court orders etc.).
2. The Units for Prevention of Abuse and Neglect – these Units operate in 16 local councils across the country. Each Unit employs a multidisciplinary staff including: a social worker, a welfare officer, a psychiatrist, a geriatric specialist, a legal advisor and a paraprofessional assistant. The Unit is directly involved with both victims and abusers. It works to raise the professional and public awareness of abuse and neglect, and provides guidance and support to all professionals addressing these issues within the local authority.
Any citizen encountering a case of abuse or neglect may contact the Unit. Health and welfare services, nursing care companies and the police also report such cases to the Unit.
3. The health system – in cases of abuse and neglect you can contact the social workers in the regional health offices who are in charge of the prevention of abuse and neglect of elderly people.
In addition, you can directly contact:
* Community health clinics – a family doctor or health fund nurse
* Hospitals – emergency room or social workers in the ward where the person is hospitalized
* Mental health services
4. Yad Riva – a nonprofit that provides legal advice services to the elderly, and assists in cases of abuse or neglect.
5. Police – abuse and neglect of the elderly are criminal offenses; therefore, any event of abuse or neglect (or suspicion of such an offense) must be reported to the welfare officer in the social services department or to the police.
The information presented in the English website is partial. For full info please visit our Hebrew website