VICTIMS of child sexual abuse at the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne will be eligible for up to $80,000 in compensation under a Victims Redress Scheme that will be announced today.
“The scheme has been established to ensure that these wrongs committed against children will no longer go unnoticed or unacknowledged,” Yechiel Belfer from Yeshivah Centre’s interim committee of management said.
The redress scheme will require victims to show that it was “reasonably likely” they were abused, well below the bar set in criminal and civil court matters.
Victims who suffered significant abuse are entitled to between $10,000 and $20,000, victims who suffered severe abuse will be entitled to seek between $20,000 and $50,000 and those that suffered extreme abuse can be given compensation of $50,000 to $80,000.
Any person under the age of 18 who was sexually abused by an employee, volunteer or student of the Yeshivah Centre, Yeshivah Beth Rivkah Colleges, Yeshivah Centre Youth or community activities associated with those organisations is eligible to seek redress through the scheme.
On top of the financial payments, those eligible will be provided with counselling and psychological care, be offered an opportunity to meet with senior leaders from the Yeshivah Centre and receive an apology if they wish from the Yeshivah Centre.
Belfer will speak directly to victims at the launch today and tell them that they were “just children” who were “blameless” and that every one of them “had the right to be protected and cared for.”
He will say they had the right to feel safe and the right to be educated in an environment that enabled them to reach their full potential.
“In each of these respects, we let you down, in ways that we can never fully make up for,” Belfer will say in his speech.
“For the abuse you suffered while you were in our care, on behalf of myself personally and the Yeshivah Centre management and staff, both past and present, I am profoundly sorry.”