Melbourne’s Jewish Care’s open door for the sexually abused in care homes.

August 14, 2014 by Ricci Hoffman
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Those who may have experienced physical or sexual abuse in Jewish children’s homes can contact Jewish Care Victoria’s support scheme for assistance.

Mike Debinski

Mike Debinski

Last November, Jewish Care established the Children in Residential Care Support Scheme after three people indicated that they were abused in residential care in the 1960s.

Jewish Care President Mike Debinski said those who had come forward to report abuse had been offered assistance through the Scheme including counselling, case management and support.

Mr Debinski said even though the institutions concerned no longer existed, Jewish Care had a moral responsibility and he was proud of the way the organisation had responded.

“Though it is distressing that such issues needed to be addressed, Jewish Care has been proactive in taking direct and appropriate action,” Mr Debinski said.

The Scheme’s first eight months of operation has been reviewed and, based on the timing of when people have accessed the Scheme, the Board decided that it was prudent to allow a time extension. Therefore, a decision was made to continue the Scheme until at least December 2014, at which time it will be fully reviewed to evaluate if it needs to be further extended.

“It often takes considerable time for abused persons to gain the courage to voice their hurt and suffering. We understand that speaking about these difficult and emotional circumstances does not come easily, which is why we have afforded more time to others in our community who experienced this terrible abuse to approach us and seek support,” said Mr Debinski.

Professor Louis Waller, who independently heads the Scheme, encouraged others who may have experienced abuse to contact Jewish Care.

Mr Debinski said that while the Scheme may conclude in December, the door to Jewish Care remains permanently open to all within the community who may need support.

The Scheme covers Frances Barkman House and three homes called Frances Barkman Homes in Balwyn and Caulfield from 1939 to 1992.

Anyone in the Jewish community who may have experienced physical or sexual abuse in these homes should make confidential contact on the special free call number 1800 112 522 or email supportscheme@jewishcare.org.au. Further details are available at www.jewishcare.org.au/supportscheme.

This scheme is open until the end of this year.

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