Thursday, December 04, 2008

Forward: Letter to the Editor - Secrecy Is No Solution To Sexual Abuse, by Vicki Polin

Letter to the Editor
Secrecy Is No Solution To Sexual Abuse

by Vicki Polin
Forward - December 4, 2008

It saddens me that your November 28 editorial “Abuse and Trust” took a stand behind New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind instead of supporting what is needed to protect children from being sexually victimized.

It’s heart-breaking to watch how a few Jewish leaders in the Orthodox world keep manipulating community members into believing they do not have to report heinous crimes committed against our children to child protective services. Hikind is wrong to keep secret from law enforcement officials the names of both alleged sex offenders and those who have been victimized. Each day that goes by that he refuses to work with those who can really help means another child is being sexually victimized.

One has to realize that turning over the names of alleged sex offenders and also those who were allegedly sexually abused to child protection workers does not mean that the names will be made public. It only means there is a possibility that those who perpetrate crimes against our children may be prosecuted and that those who have been sexually victimized will be offered real help.

As Jews, we all have a moral responsibility to protect our youth. We all must consider ourselves mandated reporters — meaning if you suspect a child is at risk of harm you make a hotline report. Leave the investigating to those who have the specialized training and can conduct forensic investigations. Dov Hikind does not have this sort of training.

Vicki Polin
Founder and CEO
The Awareness Center, Inc.
Baltimore, Md.


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