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Keywords:

  • Arab children;
  • Jewish children;
  • child maltreatment;
  • poverty;
  • child welfare services;
  • protective service responses, public disclosure of abuse;
  • voluntary family intervention

The authors examined the relationship between community characteristics and child maltreatment reports in Israel, comparing Jewish and Arab localities both in terms of maltreatment reports and the responses of the social services to these reports. Administrative data were obtained from the protective services and the Central Bureau of Statistics for 231 local authorities in Israel (covering 98% of children in Israel). Jewish communities showed significantly more reports of sexual abuse and physical abuse than Arab communities. Reporting rates also showed different associations with socioeconomic and demographic variables. In Jewish localities, demographic, economic, and educational factors were all correlated with the reporting of child maltreatment, whereas in Arab localities, only median age (young) of the local population was associated with a greater rate of child maltreatment reporting. No differences in the responses of the protective services were found. Implications of the results for future policy are discussed.