Forum on child abuse in Sydney

Bettina Cass
Emeritus Professor Bettina Cass AO.

Over 50 members of the community have signed up for the forum on child abuse which has been organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies June.

It is being held by the Task Force on Child Protection, which the Board of Deputies has set up to focus on the protection of children in Jewish communal institutional settings.

The Task Force is headed by University of NSW Emeritus Professor Bettina Cass AO, who chairs the Board’s Social Justice Committee and contains eminent members of our community who specialise in child protection.
The Task Force will develop and roll-out workshops that will focus on child safety policies and practices, the prevention of child abuse, procedures to protect children against abuse within Jewish institutional and community settings and the mandatory obligation to report to police. The workshops will expand the concept of child protection to include all abuse of children and young people, sexual, emotional and physical.

The workshops will also cover:
(a) advice for professional counselling and training for organisations about Child Safe policies and practices
(b) services for survivors of abuse and their families
(c) developing and widely disseminating across all organisations within the NSW Jewish community a set of agreed protocols for child protection, child safe policies and practices
(d) guidelines for mandatory reporting to the police.
It will also work to ensure that the lessons of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse are learned that meaningful grassroots change is implemented – which is the objective of next week’s workshop.
For those still wishing to register, please contact Mary Guth or phone 9360 1600. The workshop will t5ake place on Sunday June 21 from 10am to 1pm.

The members of the taskforce and its advisors are:

Chair, Emeritus Professor Bettina Cass AO of the University of NSW and Chair of the Board’s Social Justice Committee;

Dr Cathy Kezelman, President of Adults Surviving Child Abuse, who worked actively with the ECAJ during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse;

Caroline Haski, Registered Psychologist with extensive experience in working with survivors of trauma and their families;

Dr Paul Joshua, Conjoint lecturer in the School of Women’s and children’s Health at the University of NSW, who has worked as a Fellow in child protection;
Judith Levitan, solicitor, social worker and a founding member of the Jewish Alliance Against Family Violence;

Rebbetzin Deborah Blackman, social worker, founding member of the Jewish Alliance Against Family Violence and Founder of EduCARE, which is developing programs on child protection policies and procedures for schools, synagogues and other organisations across the Jewish and broader communities;

Rabbi Mendel Kastel, CEO of The Jewish House; and

Richard Spencer, Acting CEO of JewishCare, which has responsibility for providing community education, counselling and advice with respect to Child Safe policies and practices in the Jewish community.

In addition, Brian Babington, CEO of Families Australia and convener of the Coalition of Organisations Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of Australia’s Children, has agreed to serve as an advisor to the Task Force.