Yeshivah Centre statement
ג' אדר א תשע"ו
12th February, 2016
Dear Parents, Yeshivah Community members, Friends and Supporters,
We understand that concern has been raised within the community by the Fairfax article (dated 10 February 2016 entitled ‘Yeshivah Centre Abuse Victims fear Bullying, Intimidation’). We are extremely disappointed at this report and confirm that it contains many factual errors and wrongly questions the integrity of the Yeshivah Redress Scheme and members of the Yeshivah Centre COM.
As has been well publicised, although the Yeshivah redress scheme was established by the Yeshivah Centre, it is operated and managed by two child services experts independent of the Yeshivah Centre. Jewish Care Victoria was considered appropriate to confidentiality handle incoming initial contact for the scheme.
On commencement of the scheme, a concern was raised of a potential conflict between Jewish Care and the Yeshivah Centre that purported to question the integrity of the scheme. This concern was subject to communication and consideration between the relevant parties together with their counsel. AT NO STAGE were any confidential details relating to claims or applicants communicated or discussed in this manner. AT NO STAGE was there a breach of confidence of any sensitive details under the redress scheme. And AT NOT STAGE was any board member in breach of their duties.
However, to ensure that potential applicants are not deterred from now making contact with the scheme due to even a perceived conflict, Yeshivah Centre and Jewish Care have agreed to cease their arrangement and route even initial contact directly to the independent operators (from 15 February 2016). All other aspects of the scheme continue to operate as normal and we encourage those seeking redress or wish to discuss eligibility for the scheme to contact 1800 059 064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leah Balter Shmuley Goldberg
Yechiel Belfer Rafi Goodman
In all matters to do with institutional abuse, the primary concern of Jewish Care Victoria is with the wellbeing of those coming forward to disclose their experiences.
Our own 2013 independent support scheme for survivors of abuse at children's homes run by predecessor Jewish Welfare organisations was founded on this principle and was successfully implemented and managed.
This ideal also drove Jewish Care Victoria's decision to play a role in the Yeshivah scheme, as an independent contractor receiving initial inquiries from survivors of abuse. Our role has been to operate a confidential 1 800 number and email address. At no time in fulfilment of this role for the scheme has this confidence been breached.
Although our involvement was limited to supporting survivors of abuse in making initial contact with the Yeshivah scheme, we acknowledge that a clear separation between Yeshivah and Jewish Care is the preferred course of action so that it removes any perception of conflict and to ensure that our presence does not act as a barrier for people coming forward.
Therefore, it has been agreed with Yeshivah, that our involvement in the scheme will cease. Effective from Tuesday 16 February, people are encouraged to contact the scheme directly on 1800 059 064 or email email@example.com.