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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Just a Note

Some commentors have made the point that in cases of abuse that one can and should call the police in reaction to a point I made, which can be found here.

I agree that one can and should call the police. This is the psak that I hold by and I hope that I would have no problem following through with such an action should I need to.

However, I still believe we need a centralized place to report abuse to for a number of reasons. For starters, not every parent "holds" as I believe most of my self-selecting group of readers do. While we can and should put Torah based psakim out on the open marketplace for people to digest, we cannot expect change to happen overnight and, as it stands currently, there are those who will not make a report to the authorities (out of fear, hashkafah etc), and we need a hotline where they can make a report and where it will be dealt with responsibly for there.

In addition, even if everyone where to accept the psak that you can report, we still need our own records, I believe. Not every true claim of abuse has enough evidence to stand up in court. But, if there is a pattern of problems that follow an educator, hopefully, it could be dealt with properly. I'm not sure how we are to know if there is a problem of problems if we don't have our own records and there never is a conviction.

There are just some scattered thoughts. So, in conclusion, I'm willing to call the authorities if I ever need to, chas v'shalom. But, I still think a central database is a good idea.


Ariella said...

There is a hotline for domestic abuse in the frum community. I don't know how it operates, though I suppose something similar could be done for the purpose you propose. The only difference is that the domestic abuse doesn't entail a school that may wish to suppress all negative reports and is probably viewed as less scanadalous.

SephardiLady said...

My understanding is that the domestic abuse problem in the frum community took a very long time to tackle. Rabbonim needed convinced it was a problem and people needed educated (I assume your mikvah has domestic abuse cards posted, as mine does).

I imagine it will take a long time to put in the infrastructure for some sort of (independent) abuse hotline for those institutions that act in parentis for our children. It really isn't my idea, but I'm on board. :)

I do know that in many communities (mine included), many of the educators and administrators are related to each other. Even though I believe that they are all people of integrity. . . if there was a problem, is Rabbi X going to believe me, or his son/nephew Rabbi Y?

Anonymous said...

People won't call a "Jewish" hotline for the same reasons they won't call the police or numerous existing non-orthodox child abuse hotlines: pressure, intimidation or outright terroristic threatening from the "higher ups" involved in their school or community, and a general fear of the shame and ostracizing that will result from their peers if they call secular authorities. That is the whole problem that other writers on this issue have been encountering, and it's why a "report" generated "in-house" so to speak would simply not be effective. As long as the leadership keep claiming that it's a bigger sin to speak out about a crime against your child than it is to actually harm children, nothing will change. The leadership has known about these pedophiles for literally decades and all that happens when something becomes public in one area is that they are quietly shipped somewhere else where they now have a new unsuspecting buffet of victims. That's what the reality has been and it is firmly entrenched - the leadership has no intention whatsoever of changing their tactics. Hence the outcry.