After the Royal Commission…

March 12, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has established a Task Force on Child Protection that will focus on the welfare of children in communal institutional settings.
The taskforce is headed by University of NSW Emeritus Professor Bettina Cass, who chairs the Board’s Social Justice Committee and contains eminent members of our community who specialise in the area of child protection.

Bettina Cass

Bettina Cass

The task force will develop and roll-out on-going seminars and workshops, the first of which will begin in June this year, that will focus on child safety policies and practices, the prevention of child abuse, procedures to protect children against abuse within Jewish institutional and community settings and the mandatory obligation to report to police.

“We will be contacting every Jewish communal institution –religious and lay– in NSW to invite them to be part of this critically important initiative” NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President Jeremy Spinak said. “We can’t simply say, ‘well the Royal Commission’s over, there’s nothing left to do. The solemn comments made following the commission hearings will count for naught if we don’t follow-up with serious, meaningful grass-roots change. That’s what the task force is seeking to do.”

Professor Cass said that due to the importance of the subject matter she expects strong communal  participation in the initiative. “The key principle of the taskforce is that the foremost and overriding concern of all our educational and other community institutions and individuals associated with them is the physical, emotional and psychological protection of every child who comes within their system,” she said. “The rights of our children to that protection must be accorded priority in all our processes and actions.”

The members of the taskforce and advisors are: Chair, Professor Bettina Cass (of the University of NSW and Chair of the Board’s Social Justice Committee);  Dr Cathy Kezelman (President of Adults Surviving Child Abuse who has worked actively with ECAJ during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse); Caroline Haski (Registered Psychologist with extensive experience in working with survivors of trauma and their families); Dr Paul Joshua (Conjoint lecturer in the School of Women’s and children’s Health at the University of NSW, who has worked as a Fellow in child protection); Judith Levitan (solicitor and social worker and a founding member of the Jewish Alliance Against Family Violence); Rebbetzin Deborah Blackman (social worker and a founding member of the Jewish Alliance Against Family Violence and active in the Jewish Learning Centre and at Kesser Torah College working with children with learning difficulties); Rabbi Mendel Kastel (CEO of The Jewish House);  and Richard Spencer (acting CEO of JewishCare which has responsibility for providing community education, counselling and advice with respect to Child Safe policies and practices in the Jewish community). In addition, Brian Babington, CEO of the national organisation Families Australia and convenor of the Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia’s Children has agreed to be an Advisor to the Task Force.

Communal institutions will be contacted shortly.

In addition, the Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia’s Children is preparing an updated National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children with a third action plan (2009-20). Commonwealth and state governments and a coalition of NGOs will take part in a process of consultation, with the Board of Deputies to participate through the new taskforce.


One Response to “After the Royal Commission…”
  1. Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

    I assume each and every school, day-care centre, synagogue, youth and camping group, sporting organization and care center will sign up to this initiative and become active participants.
    The safety and wellbeing of everyone’s children and grandchildren is at stake.

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