The right thing

October 5, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre “has done the right thing” in apologising to Manny Waks according to the child sexual abuse advocate.

On his website Waks, a victim abuse himself when a pupil at the Yeshivah’s school, said: “I’m delighted to share the formal personal apology I received today from Melbourne’s Yeshivah Centre. It  speaks for itself. I wish to thank Yeshivah, in particular Yechiel Belfer, for this appropriate apology.

Manny Waks

Manny Waks

Waks has published on his site Belfer’s full written apology.

Belfer wrote:

“Dear Menachem [Manny],

I am writing to you as representative of the Yeshivah Centre, as part of the Interim Committee of Management.

As of course you are aware, the Yeshivah Centre was the subject of a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. As an institution, we condemn any form of abuse and acknowledge the serious harm it causes. We have also publicly acknowledged that in the past the Yeshivah Centre was ill-equipped to deal with its response when abuse occurred.

We at the Yeshivah Centre have been working hard to properly respond to these issues and ensure that we cement in place policies and processes of the highest standards to guarantee a safe environment for our children. The Yeshivah Centre’s number one priority is the protection of children in its care, and we will continue on this journey and take all steps required to maintain and continually raise this standard.

We must also ensure that the conduct of our leaders, staff and members is of compassion and support to victims and their families. We acknowledge that you have been part of this journey, and for that you have our ongoing gratitude.

But we must acknowledge events of the past.

The Yeshivah Centre deeply regrets its failure to protect those who were victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by people in a position of trust in the Yeshivah Centre and its schools.

It was with this in mind that we established the Yeshivah Redress Scheme to ensure that these wrongs committed against children will not go unnoticed or unacknowledged.

The operators of the Scheme have advised us that you suffered extremely severe abuse on many occasions by two different persons at the Yeshivah Centre over a significant period of time; and of the severity of its impact and continuing impact on many aspects of your life. Further, of the impact that followed your public statements about your experiences of abuse which led to ostracism and intimidation by members of the Yeshivah Centre, including by members of its leadership.

It is our hope that the redress you have received through the Scheme, together with our sincerest apology, will provide some tangible recognition of the seriousness of the abuse, the breach of trust, and the hurt you suffered and continue to suffer.

And it is to you Menachem, that we personally repeat the words said when the redress scheme was launched:

You were entrusted to the care of The Yeshivah Centre.  You were blameless. You were just a child.  You had the right to be protected and to be cared for.  You had a right to feel safe.  You had a right to be educated in an environment that enabled you to reach your full potential.  In each of these respects, we let you down, in ways that we can never fully make up for.  For the abuse you suffered while you were in our care, The Yeshivah Centre management and its staff are profoundly sorry.”

Waks told J-Wire: “The main interest is the protection of the children. I will co-operate in the future to this aim. It will continue to be an ongoing process.”


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