Dialog Box

Making a difference: Hadassah's Bat Ami Center

Bat Ami staff (L-R), Social Worker Nurit Seidel Levy, Center Director Dr Dvora Bauman and Nurse Gitit Hadashi.

Hadassah Australia is no stranger to the Bat Ami (in Hebrew “daughter of my people”) Center, a facility dedicated to immediate response for victims of sexual assault. Back in 2018, thanks to the support of our Australian community, a much needed colposcope was donated to Bat Ami, located at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

As the only designated acute care facility for victims of sexual assault in all of Jerusalem, an area serving a population of over 1.2 million people, almost every other day, a victim of sexual assault reaches out to the centre. More than a third of the victims are minors.

“Many people think of Jerusalem as the dream city, the City of Gold. But the reality is that it is a city of significant stress from violence, arbitrary acts of terrorism, and sexual assault with its accompanying physical and mental agony. These issues underpin the critical need for the services provided by Bat Ami,” said Ron Finkel AM, Hadassah Australia President.

Dr Dvora Bauman, the Director of Bat Ami, recently described the current challenges facing the centre and spoke about initiatives that could strengthen the support for survivors of sexual abuse and for those providing acute care.

The immediate treatment is of paramount importance because prevention of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections is time limited, and unfortunately ineffective after 3-5 days. In addition, the signs of violence that may be the only evidence of the crime – and play an essential role in the justice process – usually disappear after a few days.

So how can we help beyond the colposcope that has proven to be so vital for the centre’s ongoing work?

In addition to providing immediate physical and emotional care, Hadassah Australia has responded by launching a campaign to support the two initiatives that Dvora has welcomed as the way forward:

  • A medical clowning program for young victims of sexual assault
    Recent studies show that having a medical clown as part of the first responder team can be beneficial in helping children express their feelings and increase disclosure. The clown helps alleviate stress and tension, not only for the children and their families, but also for the treating team.
  • A support program for the Bat Ami team to reduce compassion fatigue and burnout
    The negative cost of caring for survivors of sexual abuse and violence is known as compassion fatigue and burnout, leading to emotional and physical exhaustion which ultimately affects the quality of the medical therapy. We can help the professional team with ongoing relief through workshops and other research-based techniques.

Executive Director Hadassah Australia, Ruth Rosen, put it this way:

The term Bat Ami captures the special bond staff share with those coming for help and support. Bat Ami is synonymous with compassion and hope, indicating to victims that they are not alone. We stretch out our arms to say we are with you all the way.

As we approach Rosh Hashanah we think about how we can make a real difference to the lives of those in need. We hope you will join us in supporting the Bat Ami Center.

Learn more about the Bat Ami Center



02 September 2022
Category: News