Yeshivah, Yeshiva recalled to Royal Commission

Yeshivah Centre The Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne. The final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse found that 15 of the 25 Jewish victims that spoke to the Royal Commission in private hearings were abused at Yeshivah in Melbourne or Yeshiva in Sydney.

THE Yeshivah Centre, Melbourne, and Yeshiva College in Sydney have been recalled to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse only one week before the nominations close for the new Yeshivah–Beth Rivkah (YBR) board.

The Royal Commission has announced it will hold a public hearing into the current policies and procedures in relation to child protection and child-safe standards, including how Yeshivah and Yeshiva respond to allegations of child sexual abuse, in February.

“This hearing is expected to include consideration of factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse in religious institutions and factors that may have affected the institutional response of religious institutions to child sexual abuse,” the commission said in a statement last week.

“This hearing may also examine the responses of named institutions to relevant case study report(s).”

The Royal Commission has invited individuals and organisations to submit information concerning current policies, procedures and responses by Yeshivah to the abuse cases involving convicted child sexual abusers David Cyprys, David Kramer and Daniel ‘Gug’ Hayman.

“The Yeshivah Centre welcomes the opportunity to present its current policies and procedures in relation to child protection and child-safe standards and the steps it has taken following the Royal Commission hearing,” Yeshivah’s interim committee of management said in a letter to the community.

It noted that YBR has implemented the recommendations of a governance review panel, received Safeguarding Children accreditation from the Australian Childhood Foundation and held multiple information sessions where child sexual abuse survivors addressed the community..

Yeshiva’s head of programming Gavriella Aber, who wrote the school’s child protection policy, said the school’s policies have been recently updated.

“Our staff are knowledgeable in both the theory and practice of this area of Australian law,” Aber told The AJN.

“We have held regular child protection training annually since the end of 2012.

“This year’s training was actually the Certificate III in Child Protection, which many of our staff members are completing in full.”

Aber said that for the past two years the staff, parents and students have received training about child safety.

“Site changes include securing all entrances to the school with electronic locks and additional doors to ensure that only people who are affiliated with the School can enter the School grounds and giving staff swipe cards to enter the property and giving parents door codes.

“We know that child abuse is a crime of opportunity, so our job, which we take very seriously, is to ensure that there are no opportunities for child abuse.”

Submissions should be made by November 25 writing to GPO Box 5283, Sydney, NSW, 2001 or via email to [email protected] Submissions can be anonymous.

JOSHUA LEVI