Zionist Youth Groups working against child abuse

May 16, 2012 by  
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After a three year process, the AZYC and the Zionist youth movements have completed their first stage of getting accredited as a Safeguarding Children Organisation.

Earlier this month, the final 55-page Australasian Zionist Youth Council (AZYC) Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy was presented to the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF).

The policy is divided into two main areas: firstly, how to protect children from child abuse and neglect and, secondly, how to protect children from physical injury. The policy is designed to be a tool to help the movements ensure that all their activities are safe to a very high standard.

“The AZYC and the youth movements we represent take seriously our responsibility to create an environment that is caring and safe primarily because we recognise such an environment is essential for educating, empowering and impassioning Jewish youth. Moreover, we are committed to safeguarding children and to ensuring that all young people who attend our activities, camps and seminars are protected from harm.” said Reuben Bolaffi, chairperson of the AZYC.

The policy affects all participants across the country in all Zionist youth movements: Habonim Dror, Netzer, Hineni, Hashomer Hatzair, Bnei Akiva and Betar. As part of the policy, all leaders in Zionist youth movements have to complete online training in safety and harm prevention. Most leaders have already started this process.

“We gratefully acknowledge the generous support for this project of the Jack and Robert Smorgon Families Foundation and the assistance of the Zionist Federation of Australia,” Bolaffi said. “We take the safety of the children in our care very seriously, and have put in place this policy to improve protection from child abuse and in the event of an incident ensure a timely and targeted response.”

“Along the way we at the ACF have been continually impressed by the endeavour and commitment from the AZYC, Movement Leaders and the ZFA to the AZYC’s approach to safeguarding children. We also understand that the bulk of this policy work has come from those young people at the heart of this very worthy movement and we share a strong confidence that this development will define very effective safeguarding approaches,” said Craig Hemsworth, Manager of the Safeguarding Children Program at the ACF.

The policy has a nation-wide child abuse report and allegation scheme to ensure all allegations and reports are taken seriously and dealt with in a consistent and appropriate manner. The policy includes a position on adhering to role boundaries, outside contact, electronic communication, use of language, sexual misconduct and other circumstances.

“The safety of participants in Zionist youth movement activities and camps is an issue of paramount importance. I wholeheartedly commend the AZYC and the Australian Childhood Foundation for their excellent, collaborative efforts to produce the guidelines and commit to ongoing training and monitoring for the purpose of ensuring that our children will be safer for it,” said Philip Chester, President of the Zionist Federation of Australia.

Parents are invited to take an active role in their child’s movement activities and read the policy.

“As part of this policy, we invite parents to be vigilant, talk to your child, hear what they say, make your own observations, and if you have concerns to bring them to the movement, or other place you may feel appropriate.  Please speak up if you are concerned,” Bolaffi said.

The next stage of the accreditation scheme is an audit of the sites and personnel of the Movements and formal accreditation is expected in August.


2 Responses to “Zionist Youth Groups working against child abuse”
  1. David says:

    Kol hakavod! Well done, what a terrific initiative!

    • Lynne Newington says:

      I endorse that David: what a terrific initiative!
      As parents, our children are the only treasures we take to Heaven and accountable for.
      Not surprising for the Smorgon families to be supporting this.

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