First Global Research and Treatment Center for Child Abuse Opens in Jerusalem

The first-ever global center combining research and treatment of child abuse opened yesterday at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at Mount Scopus.

The Haruv Children’s Campus brings together, in one location, a comprehensive array of services for abused and neglected children, including emergency treatment, therapeutic facilities and child advocacy assistance. It houses seven organizations working on all aspects of identifying, diagnosing and treating children, allowing for unprecedented levels of cooperation and coordination. It is also home to a world-class research center and training services for a wide range of professionals.

This multi-disciplinary campus provides a holistic, child-centered approach to treating, studying and addressing the global issue of child abuse and creates new opportunities for groundbreaking collaboration between institutes and organizations in Israel and around the world. Partnering with the new campus are Hebrew University and the Hadassah Medical Center.

“Child abuse and neglect occurs in all sectors of society and has a destructive impact on growth and development,” said Prof. Asher Ben-Arieh, director of the Haruv Institute. “We are striving to create the first-ever comprehensive research and treatment center for maltreated children. The campus will attract top researchers, professionals and students from Israel and abroad, creating opportunities to affect real change for at-risk children.”

According to the World Health Organization, every fourth child worldwide is a victim of child abuse. Within Israel, about 400,000 youth are considered at-risk for child abuse. In 2015, there were an estimated 44,000 new cases of child abuse reported, with every third Israeli child suffering some form of neglect, 11 percent involving sexual abuse and 20 percent involving children with special needs. The problem is so acute that child services workers routinely deal with unmanageable levels of caseloads.

The Mount Scopus campus was chosen for its strategic location and general accessibility. The site offers proximity to the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities, which predominate in nearby residential areas, and the center will bring a culturally sensitive approach to its work with these populations.

Leading this innovative initiative is the Haruv Institute, with the support of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, JDC-Israel, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, the National Insurance Institute and the Jerusalem Municipality Welfare Services.

The Haruv Children’s Campus will house several organizations devoted to dealing with child abuse, including: The Schusterman Emergency Center, The Beit Lynn Child Protection Center, The Israel National Council for the Child, The Center for Treatment of Sexually Abused Children, The Israel Medical Stimulation Center, The Municipal Child Welfare Center and The Goshen Program for Comprehensive Child Health.

“Ever since its founding in 2007, Haruv has served as a beacon of hope and a source of strength for victims of child abuse and their families. It has been a forceful advocate for those least able to defend themselves, and it has trained thousands of professionals responsible for preventing and treating abuse and neglect,” said Lynn Schusterman, Founder and Co-Chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “The opening of the Haruv Children’s Campus ushers in the next phase of this critically important mission and is a striking example of how Haruv has grown to become an international center of excellence in its field.”

The planning and design of the campus reflects its emphasis on addressing the needs of children and families. Throughout the campus, calming elements have been introduced, such as water, pastoral greenery and play areas created from natural materials. The interior spaces have colorful playrooms, work areas that provide privacy, and a school and kindergarten for children at the emergency center.

“The opening of the Haruv Campus for Children in Jerusalem is not just a major step in the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect in Israel and beyond. It champions a holistic approach ensuring critical players in this field can learn from and inform each other’s success, something we understand full well from our own work in Israel,” added David Schizer, CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).