Monday, 27 March 2017

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse - Afterthoughts

For some who may have been following my notes on Facebook during my attendance over the last few days in Sydney it may seem that whatever may be needed to be said has been worked up and down.
Sadly no - and I suspect that I among others will have thoughts to share in the wake of the Commission for some time to come.

Today I wanted to make a few comments about an article that was issued in the on-line Jerusalem Post on March 23, the day of Case Study 53, when the Royal Commission re-visited Yeshivah Melbourne and Yeshivah Bondi.  This Case Study followed Case Study 22, a further examination of the institutions two years later, in relation to child-protection and child-safety standards, including their responses to allegation of child sexual abuse and associated matters.

If the community is coming to learn one thing with the passage of time, slowly and painfully; it is that the victims of child sexual abuse under the 'care' of our institutions deserve respect, dignity, recognition and acknowledgment.   They are not to be shunned or ostracised, not to be unseen or disregarded and they are to be supported in every way possible through their pain.

In light of this, on the very day of Case Study 53, to see a journalist intimate that previously there was only one survivor of abuse who spoke publicly during Case Study 22 at the Royal Commission and that his testimony - and the findings of the Commission - were responsible for leading to sea changes in Chabad does not impress.  

Case Study 22 was held in an open Court Room.  As one of the members of the community who attended for most of the weeks during which the Case Study was held, along with  the thousands who listened on-line; we are all aware that there were a number of victims who told their harrowing stories in this very public space and that their bravery, dignity and willingness to step forward contributed overwhelmingly to the recommendations of the Commission and the following outcomes for the Yeshivah community.

That all these victims are not acknowledged as having even been present to give testimony much less in regard to their enormous contributions to the community is only another form of disrespect and abuse of those who have been previously disdained and disrespected.  Along with many in the community these victims contributed to the outcomes of the Commission and it is of consequence that just as the Royal Commission has constantly remembered that it is interacting and engaging with a wider community - so too should the media when reporting the facts.

Hold off on the Gold Stars

Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM On Tuesday 16 May, Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Re...