In response to these enquiries, I have taken the liberty to draft a template that may be used as a guide globally. While I have elected to use the Yeshivah Centre in my template - for obvious reasons, as a past dual victim there and due to my intimate knowledge of this institution - the institution’s name and those of the perpetrators may easily be replaced.
By no means is this template comprehensive or exhaustive – rather, it is a starting point for institutions to consider. They need to start moving away from prioritising the interests of the institution - whether due to fiscal fear, philosophy or ignorance - to a more humane, moral and religious priority; that of the victim/survivor and their family.
Had each and every senior Yeshivah Centre official done and then said publicly something like….
“I have apologised directly and unequivocally to every known victim or alleged victim of child sexual abuse within Yeshivah Centre institutions. I have also invited them to kindly sit with us to work out the best way forward for them and for Yeshivah. I acknowledge the significant harm that Yeshivah has caused so many by our actions and inactions – the victims/survivors of rape and sexual abuse, their families and the broader community. I am deeply ashamed of our past in the context of child sexual abuse and will now work to rectify this in any way possible. It is inconceivable that we allowed free access to individuals in positions of authority - people like David Cyprys and David Kramer - whom we knew or ought to have known were committing unspeakable crimes against so many of the innocent children under our care.
While the Yeshivah Centre has achieved many great things, there is no doubt that it has failed seriously in the area of child protection. For this I am profoundly sorry and fully commit to doing all that I can to right past wrongs. And I will do so with compassion and respect, especially towards the victims and survivors of these horrific crimes, who were young, innocent children entrusted by their parents into our care. We failed then, but we are determined to make amends now. I would again like to take this opportunity to beg forgiveness from all those whom we have hurt. Our commitment to them and to the broader community is that we will do whatever it takes to ensure that firstly, justice is achieved for past injustices and secondly, we will continue to learn from our past mistakes and the safety of all the children in our care will be our top priority.”
Had this simple and just statement been made any time since this public campaign commenced, there is no doubt that we would not be where we are today. The distrust, the resentment, the lawsuits, the Royal Commission – it all could have and should have been very different. The Yeshivah Centre has only itself to blame. Some of the many Yeshivah victims/survivors are seeking justice and closure. And some of us are almost there.
Institutions should take this opportunity to reflect and learn.