Dan Goldberg and Danny Ben-Moshe
Walkley Documentary Award
Mint Pictures & Identity Films/ABC TV
“Code of Silence”
4 December 2014
Code of Silence is the story of a fight for an investigation into allegations of child sex abuse at an Orthodox Jewish boys’ school in Melbourne. As the case against the abusers continues to make news, the documentary is timely and groundbreaking. Danny Ben-Moshe and Dan Goldberg followed the story for a year from July 2013, the only TV crew to gain access to courtrooms. Manny Waks, the former pupil of the boys’ school who blew the whistle on the rabbis he
claimed covered up abuse, left his religion as a result of his abuse, and his orthodox father was shut out by his community. Waks’ perpetrator was jailed, but Waks hopes a royal commission may yet bring to account the rabbis he alleged covered up the abuse.
Judges’ comments: “Code of Silence is a documentary exposure of an Orthodox Jewish family’s distressing struggle to tell the truth about child sexual abuse within a well-known Melbourne boys’ school. The work is exceptional because of the access negotiated with key players as the drama unfolded. It contributes to public understanding of the magnitude of the failure across institutions, both religious and secular, to protect children because of a more dominant reputational defensiveness. Through actuality and interview, the documentary effectively breaks the “code of silence” which had prevailed to cover up abuse in this close-knit community.”
Originally published at Walkleys website.