The backyard: Cumulative trauma of children from East Jerusalem who were removed from their homes

Mayis Eissa*, Anat Zeira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Few studies examined child abuse and neglect and its consequences in the context of a complex socio-political reality such as East Jerusalem. Additionally, research typically addresses trauma resulting of child maltreatment from the perspective of the children. Yet, little is known about the perceptions of the parents whose children were removed from their home by court order. Objective: This study explored the perceptions of families in East Jerusalem whose young children were removed from their home by an Israeli court order. Specifically, the parents' perceptions of the trauma experienced by their children and of the responses of their children to the removal from home. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with 22 caregivers (13 mothers, 8 fathers, and one aunt) of children at risk from East Jerusalem. The qualitative analysis was based on the principles of grounded theory. Results: The analysis of the data revealed five risk factors attributed by the parents to their children's situation: Their young age, the abuse and neglect, the secondary victimization, the removal from home, and living in a conflict zone such as East Jerusalem. Conclusions: These risk factors of the children who are at the center of this study result in a cumulative trauma which intensifies their vulnerability. The lack of early childhood educational services in East Jerusalem places these children under the radar of the social service. Therefore, it is essential for policymakers to provide the necessary resources to these families.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number106839
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Jul 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Conflict zone
  • Cumulative trauma
  • East Jerusalem
  • Out-of-home care
  • Young children at risk


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