More than 120 religious leaders have taken part in a training seminar led by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis aimed at encouraging them to tackle child abuse within Jewish communities.
The session included dozens of United Synagogue rabbis and rebbetzins and was supported by the S&P Sephardi community.
Rabbi Mirvis has made tackling child sex abuse a key point of his Chief Rabbinate. He committed to organising the seminar to ensure rabbis were properly equipped with the knowledge and understanding required to deal with cases of abuse arising in their communities.
Among the speakers and trainers the session in London were Chief Rebbetzin Valerie Mirvis – who is a social worker with years of experience in front-line child protection issues – senior police officers and leading local authority experts.
Rabbis were told of the halachic requirements to tackle abuse and were given training by psychotherapists on how to advise victims.
The session came as a major report into child sex abuse was published. The study, released by the children’s commissioner, showed as many as 450,000 cases of abuse may have been carried out from April 2012 to March 2014 in Britain.
The majority of cases are carried out by friends of family of the victim and up to 85 per cent go unreported, the study claimed.
British campaigner Yehudis Goldsobel, who was abused as a child by a member of her strictly Orthodox Stamford Hill community and waived her lifetime anonymity to tell her story in the JC, will appear in a documentary – The Truth About Child Sex Abuse – on BBC2 at 10pm on Tuesday.
Ms Goldsobel, who now runs the charity Migdal Emunah, told the BBC’s Breakfast programme of her experience of reporting her abuser to members of her community, and later the police. Her abuser was jailed in 2013.