‘We must be vigilant’

Anton Block.

“THE Inquiry, its public hearings, findings and recommendations have been of seminal ongoing importance for the whole of Australian society,” said Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) president Anton Block.

“All Australians must take notice of the 189 recommendations made in the final report.”

Jewish community institutions will need to pay special regard to recommendation 16.30, which calls on them to ensure that their complaint handling policies explicitly state that the halachic concepts of mesirah, moser and loshon horo do not apply to the communication and reporting of allegations of child sexual abuse to police and other civil authorities.

At its annual conference on November 26, the ECAJ adopted a detailed policy concerning child sexual abuse, with the backing of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Task Force on Child Protection.

Block added, “I want to emphasise, especially in light of the Royal Commission’s final report, that the ECAJ calls on Jewish community organisations which at any time have the care of children to adopt and implement appropriate standards of child protection if they have not already done so, and to work together with other Jewish organisations, including Tzedek, under the auspices of the Jewish community State roof bodies and the ECAJ to develop a best practice model of Jewish Professional Standards on Child Protection.

“Leaders of Jewish organisations must take a preventative, proactive and participatory approach to child safety issues, so that the safety and wellbeing of children in each of their organisations is a paramount consideration when developing activities, policies and management practices.

“It is not enough to express our deepest sympathy with all survivors of child sexual abuse and profound sorrow at the pain and ongoing hardship they have suffered, and to extend the same sentiments to the family and friends of survivors who have suffered in any way for supporting them.

“Our institutions must be proactive and vigilant to prevent any further instances of abuse occurring within them, and we need to extend whatever support may be necessary to survivors of child sexual abuse in their pursuit of justice and redress.”