On 9 July 2023, the staff of the Office of the Ombudsman participated in a symposium on the topic "Accessibility and Customization of the Investigation Procedure for Persons with Disability".
The symposium, which took place at the main office of the Ombudsman in Jerusalem, focused on the verbal and written communication between staff of the Office of the Ombudsman and complainants with disability. The symposium was chaired by a blind staff member of the Office of the Ombudsman.
In the course of the symposium, the head of the "Movement for Independence" non-profit organization, which aims to advance independent lives for persons with disability, detailed the different disabilities existing and their main characteristics in the context of the interaction with the Office of the Ombudsman. She also provided a myriad of tools for handling the complaints of persons with disability, emphasizing the need to use simplified language, to avoid adopting a cynical or sarcastic tone and to provide concepts of time, quantity, space and so forth.
The symposium was also addressed by the founder of "Titkadmu" ("Move Forward"), a program of the Israel Defense Forces, which aims to integrate persons on the autism spectrum into the Army. The founder of the program, on the autism spectrum himself, shared with the participants the complexities of his life and his achievement in living independently and successfully.
State Comptroller and Ombudsman, Mr. Matanyahu Englman, emphasized the importance of investigating complaints of persons with disability and of addressing issues of significance to them, both in the work of the Office of the Ombudsman and in the reports of State Audit.
Dr. Esther Ben Haim, Head of the Office of the Ombudsman, stressed that the Office carries out various activities for reaching out to communities deserving special attention, including the community of persons with disability. Dr. Ben-Haim pointed out that in 2022 the percentage of complaints filed with the Office by persons with disability stood at 21%, twice the percentage of persons with disability of the total population.
At the end of the symposium, simulations were conducted in which the staff of the Office of the Ombudsman demonstrated interactions with persons with disability throughout the various stages of the investigation procedure.
Source: The Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman of Israel