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Go direct to authorities when you suspect child abuse

כ"ה תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"א

This is one of three articles by different Rabbinical authorities in the USA on child molestation.The three articles all have differently nuanced views on the (universally agreed) obligation to report child abuse to the secular authorities.

The other two are :

Statement from Agudat Yisrael of America

Statement from Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik (scroll to bottom)

New York - The Rabbinical Council of America has today reaffirmed its position that those with reasonable suspicion or first hand knowledge of abuse or endangerment have a religious obligation to report that abuse to the secular legal authorities without delay.

One of the unique features of Jewish law is that it imposes upon every member of the community an obligation to help others avoid danger.  The biblical verse “do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed” is understood by Jewish Law to mandate that one must do all in one’s power to prevent harm to others - even if monetary harm, but certainly physical harm.

Consistent with that Torah obligation, if one becomes aware of an instance of child abuse or endangerment, one is obligated to refer the matter to the secular authorities immediately, as the prohibition of mesirah (i.e., referring an allegation against a fellow Jew to government authority) does not apply in such a case.

As always where the facts are uncertain one should use common sense and consultations with experts, both lay and rabbinic, to determine how and when to report such matters to the authorities. False accusations are harmful to those falsely accused - but unreported abuse or endangerment can be life-threatening, as we have recently been tragically reminded.

In addition and as a separate matter, those within the Jewish community whom secular law deem to be “mandated reporters,” must certainly obey the particular reporting requirements, which vary from state to state in the United States. A person covered by mandatory reporter laws must comply with those laws, even in a case in which Jewish law might otherwise not require a person to report such child abuse or endangerment.

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Sickening to remember

Posted on 2011-07-30 02:22:06 GMT

This is about the one thing I could never accept that i was told I had to accept to be a good Jew and this is the reason I stopped my converting to be a Jew. Violence against a baby or a child is not seen as violence if it is done without emotion. Enought of the rubbish of not protecting a Jew who abuses children. It is everywhere and it is not just accepted it is encouraged. I did go to 2 authoritive representative of 2 Jewish communities and I was then subjected to being seen as an aggressor.

Posted on 2011-07-30 02:20:12 GMT