The Family Center is a program at Yad Sarah for the treatment and prevention of domestic violence. According to a recent report by a leading Israeli women’s organization, approximately 200,000 women in Israel are victims of domestic violence. The report noted that over the past year, 7,335 women were treated in 89 centers for domestic violence across the country and that some 600,000 children have witnessed domestic violence.
More than 15 years ago, Dr. Shlomit Lehman, an experienced therapist with a professional background in treating couples and families affected by domestic violence, approached Yad Sarah with the idea of creating an initiative to help address domestic violence in the haredi community, which had no therapeutic options specifically designed around their needs and beliefs. Dr. Lehman sought to create a program for members of haredi couples and families which would take into account the unique attributes of haredi society, cooperate closely with an advisory group of rabbinic leaders, and carefully craft an outreach and education effort within the community in order to begin to help victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. Today, the program operates out of Yad Sarah House in Jerusalem, and has 14 part-time professional staff members including specially-trained social workers and community workers who work with participants in group and one-on-one therapeutic sessions.
Although Yad Sarah's Family Center specializes in the unique needs of the haredi community, all sectors of Israeli society struggling with domestic violence may receive treatment at the Jerusalem clinic. Thanks to a generous foundation grant, plans are underway to open a satellite clinic in Israel's Southern region, the first and only service of its kind in the area to assist individuals and families.