Office of the Chief Rabbi

Statement: ‘It is a legal, moral and religious imperative to report abuse’

In a response to findings by the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which convened in light of the discovery of grave abuses against minors within the Melbourne and Sydney communities, the Chief Rabbi condemns the perpetrators and urges Jews to report offences immediately. 

“Recent events regarding The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia have sent shock waves throughout the Jewish World and well beyond it.

First and foremost, my heart goes out to the victims, who not only suffered at the hands of those in positions of trust and power, but have carried those shocking experiences with them throughout years of extended suffering, trauma and fear. I salute the incredible courage of those who have confronted their past experiences and tormentors and encourage all victims or those who know about victims of sexual abuse to do the same.

Let there be no doubt: it is a legal, moral and religious imperative to report cases of sexual abuse to the police. Nobody is above the law and no institution is greater than its members or followers. The impact of bringing sexual predators to light, however embarrassing for our communities, pales into insignificance when the alternative would result in the shame of protecting criminals, abandoning victims and risking the safety of so many others.

Whilst the past cannot be changed, now is the time for the necessary positive steps to ensure that responsibility is taken, lessons are learned and that every schoolchild and parent can feel secure in the knowledge that everything is being done to tackle this and to provide appropriate support. Through confronting these issues head-on, I am confident that Australian Jewry can emerge strongly from these shadows, not only for the sake of a wonderful community that has been brought into disrepute by the actions of a number of individuals, but most importantly for the victims themselves.”

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