The Jewish Week
March 8, 2011
The article about Ohel's alleged failures to report child abuse raises issues of great concern regarding the safety of children and illegality ("Abuse Case Tests Ohel's Adherence To Reporting Laws," Feb. 25).
Studies show that the horrendous effects of child abuse might be mitigated to some degree when disclosures are met with parental empathy and support. This applies, as well, when communities — rabbis, neighbors, schools, social service agencies, etc. — respond effectively and responsibly. Then children feel safer. Then children know that someone cares.
Failure to report, failure to hold perpetrators accountable and failure to create safe homes, schools and shuls make us co-conspirators in practically guaranteeing that the negative consequences of abuse and issues of victimhood will haunt child victims throughout their lives. We owe our children much, much more.
Rabbi Mark Dratch
CEO, JSafe: The Jewish Institution Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment