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RCV Statement re the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse Case Study 53

The Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) thanks the Royal Commission into Child Sexual abuse for the tremendous service it has done for the community at large and in particular for the Jewish community.

Due to the Royal Commission and the efforts of our educators, religious and lay leaders, there has been significant awareness raised in respect of child sexual abuse and the way in which the community protects children.

The RCV thanks in particular all the brave survivors and victims who came forward to share their stories and contributed in a major way to these changes. The RCV would like to once again stress its unequivocal position that reporting allegations of child sexual abuse is not only permitted in Jewish law, but in fact is an obligation. Yesterday's hearing reinforced the critical role that culture plays in our how our community responds to allegations of child sexual abuse, and the need to constantly reinforce that antiquated approaches and references to concepts of 'mesirah', 'loshon hora' and 'arkaot' have no place in the manner in which we respond to such allegations. It is also critical that the community understands that the shunning of victims who have come forward, or will do so

in the future, is absolutely forbidden.

Yesterday's panel interviews certainly highlighted some of the great work that has been done in the community and the ongoing efforts that are being done to ensure the safety of children. The RCV continues to offer training to its member Rabbis in relation to preventing child sexual abuse and ensuring the rabbis are following best practice in relation to governance and organisational responsibility.

The interviews also demonstrated that there is still work to be done to ensure that the leadership understands the importance of proper governance and ensuring that they are knowledgeable in regards to child protection policies and best practice in relation to child protection.

The community must continue to work together, building on the momentum generated by the Royal Commission, to continue to ensure that our children are protected from all forms of abuse.

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