Restraining Orders do Little to Help Battered Women, Paper Shows
Last week, two women were murdered on the same day by their partners, both of whom were in violation of their restraining orders; more than 4,500 restraining orders are issued by Israeli courts every year.
By Dana Weiler-Polak
March 8, 2011
The State Control Committee will mark International Women’s Day today by discussing the effectiveness and enforceability of restraining orders in domestic violence cases.
Last week, two women were murdered on the same day by their partners, both of whom were in violation of their restraining orders. More than 4,500 restraining orders are issued by Israeli courts every year.
According to a position paper prepared by the Women’s International Zionist Organization, which runs a number of battered women’s shelters around the country, restraining order are a particularly weak point in the law against domestic violence.
“It’s clear today that the orders are toothless, since when they are violated there is no immediate response by police and the courts,” the paper reads.
One woman who fell victim to domestic violence said the courts offered her little relief.
“I just couldn’t believe it when I found myself escaping to a shelter, where I stayed for six month,” said S., from Rehovot. “I filed complaints and asked the court for a protection order, but I still live in a prison, never opening the shutters and living in fear of the day he’ll hurt me,” she said.
S.’s partner was released in June to a house arrest in Eilat, with restrictions derived from the protection order. She told Haaretz she had seen him in Rehovot several times, but her complaints to police were left unanswered.
The Rehovot police told her to speak to their colleagues in Eilat, who told her records showed her husband still incarcerated, and asked her to send them the court minutes stating that he was released.
Police said the incident in question occurred in July, and said that if the woman believes her husband violated the conditions of the court, she may file a complaint.