Waks submits to the Royal Commission

November 29, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Alleged victim of sexual abuse at a Melbourne Yeshiva school Manny Waks has made a submission to the Royal Commission into institutional child abuse.

Waks’s submission


Manny Waks at Yeshiva College in 1988

This joint submission is made on behalf of victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated within the Australian Jewish community.

Due to the tight deadlines and limited resources, this submission highlighting some of the key issues to consider when finalising the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference will be brief.

From our perspective, some of the key issues to consider include but are not limited to:
·         why allegations of child sexual abuse were not shared with the police;
·         why victims were not offered any appropriate assistance;
·         how the organisations who became aware of the allegations were able to cover them up;
·         how organisations who have been accused of covering up these allegations are able to intimidate and harass victims, their families and supporters (with the police powerless to act in certain cases);
·         the responsibility of peak communal bodies within respective communities;
·         victims who would like to testify should have the opportunity to do so;
·         extradition arrangements with other countries in circumstances where an offender or alleged offender has been facilitated in their flight from Australia;
·         opportunities for relevant legislative reform to address the foregoing concerns including reform of statutes of limitation, enhanced investigative powers for police and clearer accountability for both individuals and organisations involved in either the perpetration of abuse or any subsequent cover-up, intimidation, etc.; and
·         having a reasonable time limitation on the work of the Commission, but ensuring there is ample time to undertake this important task comprehensively.

I would also like to:
·         note that unfortunately the Jewish community does not have a victims’ advocacy group. However, we are currently in the process of establishing one, which will be called Tzedek (Hebrew for justice). This will enable us to address ongoing developments in a more formal and effective way. It will essentially maintain what we have been doing for the past few months – working together to achieve justice. I have been coordinating the activities of this group, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future;
·         encourage the Commission to keep the community informed throughout this lengthy process;
·         offer my services to the commission to be employed as a consultant on matters relating to the Jewish community (and perhaps more broadly as a victim of child sexual abuse within a religious institution);
·         encourage the Commission to examine the work/finding of similar inquiries, both within Australia and globally (including the current Victorian Government Inquiry); and
·         ensure there is no conflict of interest of the Commissioner/s.

I would welcome the opportunity to respond to any queries or to provide further information upon request.


One Response to “Waks submits to the Royal Commission”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    That’s the operative word: To ensure there is no conflict of interests with the Commissioner/s which should include advocates.

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