Chief Rabbi urges community to report sex abuse allegations to police The Jewish Chronicle reports:  Chief Ephraim Mirvis has stated that any allegation of child sexual abuse must be reported to the police “without delay”, following last week’s conviction of a Charedi teacher for sexual assault. All rabbis under the authority of the chief rabbi are to be asked to attend a mandatory seminar being organised […]

Chief Rabbi urges community to report sex abuse allegations to police

The Jewish Chronicle reports: 

Chief Ephraim Mirvis has stated that any allegation of child sexual abuse must be reported to the police “without delay”, following last week’s conviction of a Charedi teacher for sexual assault.

All rabbis under the authority of the chief rabbi are to be asked to attend a mandatory seminar being organised by the United Synagogue to alert them to the dangers of abuse.

Todros Grynhaus, the son of a dayan of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, awaits sentence after being found guilty in Manchester of seven counts of sexual abuse against two girls aged 14 and 15 at the time.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Rabbi Mirvis said the conviction was of “immense significance” and praised the courage of victims and others who “withstood tremendous pressure” to bring it about.

“Though certainly not the first such case, it sends an unequivocal message that nobody, in any part of our community, can expect to commit these horrific crimes and escape prosecution,” he said.

“This kind of abuse is a stain on all of society and we are no less vulnerable to the scourge of sexual crimes than any other community,” he said. “Perpetrators of these crimes destroy lives and every one of us shares in the responsibility to protect victims and potential victims.

“As such, we must not only ensure that all incidents are reported to the police without delay, but that we must do everything in our power to promote a culture whereby reporting such crimes to the relevant statutory authorities is supported and encouraged.”

Rabbi Mirvis said that he was writing to rabbis this week to advise them of a “mandatory, dedicated seminar that the United Synagogue is organising on behalf of its communities, in order to better prepare rabbis to identify and respond to incidents of child abuse in their communities and to reinforce the importance of being vigilant at all times.”

He is also meeting victims of abuse and campaigners against it to find out “what more can be done to better protect vulnerable people in our communities”, he said.

Communities should have “robust child protection” policies in place and review them regularly to ensure they are up to date.

The Chief Rabbi’s statement in full:

The conviction of a prominent member of the Manchester Jewish community for sexual abuse is of immense significance. Though certainly not the first such case, it sends an unequivocal message that nobody, in any part of our community, can expect to commit these horrific crimes and escape prosecution. The longstanding view of the Chief Rabbi and Beth Din has been restated a number of times in recent years, but this is an opportune moment to reinforce that position once again.

I would like to commend the victims and others who withstood tremendous pressure and gave evidence. I hope that their courage will inspire others to come forward in the future.

This kind of abuse is a stain on all of society and we are no less vulnerable to the scourge of sexual crimes than any other community. Perpetrators of these crimes destroy lives and every one of us shares in the responsibility to protect victims and potential victims. As such, we must not only ensure that all incidents are reported to the police without delay, but that we must do everything in our power to promote a culture whereby reporting such crimes to the relevant statutory authorities is supported and encouraged.

It is imperative that communities across the country have robust child protection policies in place and should act in consultation with the statutory services. Every community should review its policies and procedures regularly and consider what else can be done – we can always do more.

Further to previously held training seminars for Rabbis, I will be writing this week to Rabbis across the country, advising them of a mandatory, dedicated seminar that the United Synagogue is organising on behalf of its communities, in order to better prepare Rabbis to identify and respond to incidents of child abuse in their communities and to reinforce the importance of being vigilant at all times. In addition, I am meeting with victims of abuse and campaigners in this area to seek views from them as to what more can be done to better protect vulnerable people in our communities.

May we all have the courage to seek out and challenge cruelty and injustice from within our midst.

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