In order to do our utmost to ensure that our communities are safe spaces for our children, we have taken a number of important steps.
- We have chosen to work with an independent organisation which provides objective advice and ensures that our procedures conform to accepted standards of best practice. This organisation has provided top quality training at various levels to our staff and many volunteers and will continue to do so on a rolling basis. Our senior management is taking an active role in developing this approach and ensuring it is properly implemented across the organisation.
- We held an initial event in Kinloss in November 2015 for our Rabbis and Rebbetzens to raise awareness of the scourge that is child sexual abuse, explain correct procedures and the imperative to involve the local authorities at the earliest opportunity.
- Due to the size of our organisation we have created a structure with child protection roles at many levels. Our Child Protection Officer is David Frei, the US External & Legal Services Director and his Deputy is Delia Goldring, HR Director. The Central Child Protection team also includes Steven Wilson, Chief Executive, Joanne Greenaway, Lawyer and Beth Din Get Caseworker and David Collins, Director for Young People and Young Families. It is their role to assess any child protection issue that may be raised and take the necessary action.
- We have appointed individual Community Safeguarding Coordinators (CSCs) in many shuls and our aim is for all shuls to have CSCs shortly. We are privileged that many highly experienced professionals have come on board. These volunteers have undertaken intensive awareness training as regards child protection and as regards the relevant US procedures. They should be the first port of call if you have any concern about a child (or indeed a vulnerable adult) in your shul. They will liaise with our central team who will in turn liaise with the authorities.
- Similarly, in other local US settings such as cheders, nurseries and camps, we have trained individuals in child protection roles who feed into our central team.
- Our new child protection awareness video has been sent to all staff members and to volunteers across the US who come into contact with children by virtue of their role. It gives an insight into some of the issues to look out for and some basic steps to take including:
- the source of our obligation in relation to child protection;
- the signs and symptoms of the different types of abuse - neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse;
- online grooming;
- the steps that you are required to take in the case of any concern or if a disclosure of abuse is made to you; and
- the vital importance of confidentiality. Information should only be shared through the correct channels and not shared any more widely than absolutely necessary.
Notwithstanding these steps, it is clear that we should never be complacent when it comes to the dangers posed to children today. None of us likes to think of abuse occurring on our premises perpetrated by a community member, even one that comes across as a reputable pillar of the community. We ask that all our members be alert to the fact that child abuse could take place within our communities.
If you come across any situations of concern, we urge you to be in contact with your local CSC, or alternatively to contact David Frei or another member of our central team. Please look out for the posters on your shul noticeboards and around your shuls giving details of your CSC or ask a member of the central child protection team.
Joanne Greenaway (on behalf of the Central Child Protection team)
Contact Numbers for Central Child Protection team:
Child Protection Officer – David Frei - 0208 343 6277
Deputy Child Protection Officer – Delia Goldring - 0208 343 6224
The number to call outside normal office hours is: 020 3758 8440
If you have a query on Shabbat/Jewish Festivals and you believe a child may be at imminent serious risk, please contact 999 immediately.