Thursday, January 25, 2007

Letters to the Editor - Let the experts do it

By Vicki Polin
Jeruasalem Post - January 25, 2007

Rabbi Avi Shafran
Sir, - Thanks to Rabbi Avi Shafran for helping to make Israelis aware of the JTA series on clergy sexual abuse ("What the rabbi said," Letters, January 24). I am not aware that any Israeli newspaper or magazine has published the series, entitled "Reining in abuse."

It's time for all of us to face the reality of how cases of sexual violence have been mishandled and covered up in all streams of Judaism. The Awareness Center's goal is to prevent one more person from becoming the next victim of a sex crime.

The only way things will ever change is via awareness, education and the implementation of new policies. We must demand that our rabbis report all cases of suspected sexual violence to law enforcement instead of handling them alone. To this day I have not met one rabbi with any training in collecting forensic evidence, or in conducting a victim-sensitive interview. Until this changes, these cases need to be handled by those with the proper education, experience and knowledge. They are not cases for a synagogue, school, camp or beit din to be handling.

Executive Director
The Awareness Center, Inc.
Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault

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