What follows is an open letter sent today not long before Shabbat to victims of child sex abuse and to the Chabad Yeshivah Centre community from Yeshivah Centre leadership. The letter is in response to the shocking and awful testimony of many Chabad rabbis before Australia's Royal Commission investigating child sex abuse at Chabad institutions.
From: Yeshivah Community Website
Date:27/02/2015 [ ]
To: [ ]
Subject: An Open Letter to the Victims of Child Sex Abuse and the Community
Dear [ ],
At the conclusion of Case Study 22 of The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, the Yeshivah Centre Melbourne has learnt many painful but important lessons.
The Yeshivah Centre would like to reiterate our heartfelt apologies to the victims and their families for the suffering that they have endured.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms all forms of child abuse and fully support perpetrators being brought to justice and being held to account for their actions. We maintain our position that all instances of child sex abuse must be reported to the police. We understand that the effects of abuse on victims and their families are long lasting and devastating and that it is not easy for a victim to come forward. Victims who do come forward are to be applauded for their courage and bravery. It is totally unacceptable for victims or their families to be subjected to re traumatisation and we will establish guidelines and protocols to prevent this from happening in the future.
Recognising the need for action, the Yeshivah Centre is establishing a discreet and confidential process through which Yeshivah Centre will provide victims and their families with our full support, professional counselling, and personal apologies. We are appointing an eminent and independent committee with expertise in providing support to victims of child sex abuse to assist us in managing this process. Of course, this will not affect victims' rights in any way. Further details will be provided once the process is finalised.
Over the past few years, Yeshivah Centre has developed holistic and comprehensive child protection policies, procedures and practices to ensure that we are providing a safe and secure environment for all the children in our care. Our approach to child protection has been highly acclaimed by independent experts and regulatory authorities. We will continue to remain vigilant in this regard, including providing ongoing education and training to Students, Staff and Parents.
Unfortunately we cannot change the past but our commitment to the victims, their families and the community is to do our utmost to provide our full support to all those who have suffered and make the changes that are necessary to ensure that we are operating according to absolute best practice.
Our institutions have educated thousands of children who lead productive and fulfilling lives as full members of the Jewish and general community both in Melbourne and overseas; and continue to be the pride of our community and a role model for excellence in education.
With best wishes,