On December 13, 2021, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) adopted the Prevention of Domestic Violence (Amendment No. 18 – Temporary Order) Law, 5782-2021 (Amendment Law) in order to implement courts’ authority to issue treatment orders in connection with protective orders. The Amendment Law provides procedures for implementing treatment orders for a period of five years, which may be extended for additional periods not exceeding three years in total. Extensions may be authorized by the minister of justice, with the consent of the minister of welfare and social security and the minister of finance, and with the approval of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women and Gender Equality.
Upon or following the issue of a protection order, the court may require the submission of a treatment opinion by an authorized social worker regarding the suitability of the person named in the order for treatment and the availability of a spot in an appropriate therapeutic program that may meet the person’s needs. If the person is found to be suitable and a spot is identified, the court may order that they receive treatment within the proposed framework recommended in the opinion. The order will prescribe the means by which the court will be notified of the treatment progress, as well as the dates of the treatment. On receipt of the progress report, the court may request the parties’ response and may summon them in order to reexamine the protection order and its terms.
The Amendment Law provides that, beginning June 15, 2022, the minister of welfare and social security is to submit an annual report to the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women and Gender Equality on the implementation of the treatment order provisions. The report must include the number of persons named in protection orders who were subject to treatment opinions, the number of persons referred for treatment, and the number of persons who have completed their treatment process.
The Prevention of Domestic Violence Law, 5771-1991, as amended (the Law), authorizes circuit courts, family courts, and religious tribunals adjudicating cases within the jurisdiction of those courts to issue protection orders prohibiting the person named in the order from harassing or approaching members of a family, entering their property, or acting in any way that hampers or prevents them from lawfully using property under their possession. A protection order may also include a requirement for a compliance guarantee or any other provision that the court finds necessary to ensure that the named person does not jeopardize the safety and security of the family members. (Prevention of Domestic Violence Law, 5771-1991, as amended, § 2.)
The Law authorizes the court to require the named person to commit to a domestic violence treatment program to be administered by a body determined by the court. Treatment may be ordered only after the court has received a report by a social worker in accordance with the requirements of the Law. (§ 2 A.)According to the explanatory notes of the Bill for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (Amendment No. 19 – Temporary Order) (Treatment Order), 2020, however, “only several dozen violent men have been referred for treatment” since the authorization for the issue of treatment orders was enacted. Statistics published by the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry in November 2021 show an increase in calls to the ministry’s domestic violence hotline in 2021. The Amendment Law is designed to facilitate implementation and compliance with domestic violence treatment orders.