Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar drafted a bill to expand state-funded legal aid to sexual assault victims on Sunday.
The bill, if passed by the Knesset, will mean all victims of sexual assault will receive state-funded legal aid automatically, starting from the investigative stage, both in criminal and civil cases.
Previously, victims of sexual assault would have to submit a form confirming their entitlement to legal aid based on their financial situation.
Victims of certain sexual offenses are currently provided legal assistance by the state in a number of cases, but the assistance is provided in cases where an indictment has been filed – with the vast majority of complaints never reaching this stage.
Israel’s Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar is seen speaking at the Jerusalem Post annual conference at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, on October 12, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
“This is another step in a series of legislative amendments for the benefit of sexual assault victims,” said Justice Minister Sa’ar. “All amendments are intended to improve the attitude of Israeli law enforcement towards victims,” Sa’ar added.
Earlier in October, protesters gathered in Rabin Square demanding the state provide legal assistance to victims of sexual offenses from the moment that they file a complaint. Israel Police have recently been criticized for their handling of the filing of a number of complaints about sex offenses.
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