Jewish victims of domestic abuse ‘wait two more years than average’ to seek help
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Jewish victims of domestic abuse ‘wait two more years than average’ to seek help

Women living within the community experienced abuse for at least 11.5 years before reporting their ill treatment according to Jewish Women’s Aid

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

Jewish victims of domestic violence are waiting two years longer than the national average before seeking help, a shocking new survey has revealed.

Women living within the community experienced abuse for at least 11.5 years before reporting their ill treatment, according to Jewish Women’s Aid (JWA).

In contrast, domestic abuse victims from wider society wait an average of nine years, the latest figures from national organisation Women’s Aid reveals.

The disturbing figure was released ahead of the UN’s International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), which is marked this Sunday.

Naomi Dickson, chief executive of JWA, said the result was “shocking” and could be partly explained by the “high expectations” the community places on maintaining family life.

She said: “We always thought Jewish women waited longer, but this is the first time that it’s been confirmed in this way, and we’re quite shocked.

“We are a family-focused community, which makes it much harder to speak about abuse that’s happening.

“We all have high expectations of ourselves and other family members, which probably prevents women seeking help and support.

“It is incumbent on the Jewish community to create an environment where women can reach out for help as soon as they need it, rather than waiting.”

Last year JWA helped 600 women, with 170 referring themselves to the service via the organisation’s helpline.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who also serves as JWA’s patron, posted a video in support of this year’s IDEVAW.

Speaking in the two-minute film, the Chief Rabbi said: “Our Jewish community is not immune to the ills of our society. Unfortunately what that means is that in the area of violence against women and girls, Jewish people are affected, as are so many within our society.

“I would categorise the work of JWA as nothing less than pikuach nefesh, the saving of precious lives.”

He also urged more professional in the Jewish community to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and refer women to JWA’s services.

To raise greater awareness, the charity is running an outreach event at Brent Cross on Thursday (today), with the Chief Rabbi and representatives from the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council expected to attend.

Listen to this week’s episode of the Jewish Views Podcast!

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