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Keeping Our Children Safe

Keeping Our Children Safe

23 August 2013

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) organised a forum on policies and procedures for community organisations to protect children from sexual abuse, which was hosted by Jewish Care.

The forum was ground breaking because of the breadth of organisations that attended with over 40 people from over 20 Jewish community organisations, including seven shules and five schools.  The range of organisations who participated was diverse, including Jewish Care, Adass Israel, Tzedek, Jewish Aid, the King David School and the Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence.

The keynote speaker was Dr Joe Tucci, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Childhood Foundation who spoke about why child abuse is sometimes not reported, the framework to prevent abuse and the four factors that made organisations vulnerable to abuse:

  • Lack of awareness
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Lack of procedures and systems
  • Lack of confidence to put procedures in place

Dr Tucci led the participants through a number of real life scenarios, some volunteered from the forum participants, to highlight the risks and issues to be managed.  He said that an organisation must be committed and have the resolve to enforce the policies and procedures developed.

Chairman of the JCCV Child Protection Reference Group, Andrew Blode said that it was not a just a need to develop a policy.  Organisations needed to build awareness and develop a culture of child protection.

Rabbi Moshe Kahn, Director of Chabad Youth spoke about Chabad Youth’s significant progress in implementing policies and procedures to protect children, its zero tolerance for breaching of policy and their work in achieving accreditation.

Speaking after the forum, Nina Bassat, President of the JCCV said, “Two Jewish youth organisations are leading the way in achieving accreditation in this area, Chabad Youth and the Zionist Youth Council.  Both should be applauded for their leadership and commitment.”

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