Of the 14 women’s shelters that exist in Israel, Bat Melech’s shelters are the only ones that cater to the unique needs of religious women and their children. Many women will stay in their abusive marriages rather than leave to live in a secular shelter. Our shelters were created to give these victims a chance to escape their abusive marriages and find refuge in a safe environment without compromising their religious beliefs.
As a specialized shelter system in Israel, Bat Melech often receives referrals from other organizations that have received religious women that they cannot accommodate.
The Israeli government provides funding for shelters with the expectation that each client will come with no more than two children. In contrast, the women who come to Bat Melech’s shelters average about four children each. Bat Melech regularly accepts women who have as many as eight children, despite the tremendous additional costs involved.
Bat Melech has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country, because women who seek our shelter services see it as a last resort—entering later than women in the respective secular shelters. These women often stay longer as well, ensuring success on their transition from shelter living.
These shelters have no geographic or age limitations for shelter residents and frequently house women as young as 18 and as old as 70. Women and their children reside in the shelters for periods of time ranging from a week to a year; with an average stay of six months.
The shelters provide a safe haven and a calming environment. The shelter staff – director, women’s social worker, children’s social worker, gardener, house mother and volunteers – work tirelessly to ensure that both the physical and emotional needs of the women and children are met.
Bat Melech aims to rehabilitate the women and by offering them therapy, vocational training, job readiness, legal services and counseling so they can become self-sufficient.
Comprehensive services are provided for children who accompany their mothers, most of whom have experienced trauma. While at our shelter, each child has access to a wide variety of activities to cultivate the body, mind, spirit and soul.