Thursday, February 24, 2005

New Effort to Prevent Abuse in the Jewish Community

Tomorrow's Forward newspaper has Steve Weiss' story on a Plan to Prevent Sexual Abuse in the Jewish community. (Thanks to Bloghead for the tip.) The article includes,

A rabbi at the forefront of efforts to curb abuse in the Orthodox community is launching an initiative to certify organizations that adopt policies to combat the problem.
The rabbi, Mark Dratch, told the Forward that he is planning to leave his post as religious leader of Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Conn., in "six months to a year" to launch JSafe: The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse Free Environment. The hope, he said, is that the "seal of approval" he will provide will become "something that parents would begin to look for."....
"The heart of the program is to create a certification program for camps, schools, JCCs, synagogues" and Jewish organizations, Dratch said in an interview. The program will, for a fee, put organizations through a three-step program to achieve certification.
First, Dratch said, "all of their professionals and volunteers will be appropriately trained... [so that they] know how to respond" to cases of alleged abuse. Second, the organizations will "know what's expected of the professional or volunteer so that they don't become perpetrators... [and have] policies and guidelines in place in terms of how to deal with problems." Third, JSafe will "give guidance to the various organizations" and serve as a place for people to turn if they feel an "organization is not responding appropriately."
Among the requirements for organizations to receive certification will be that they have "background checks before a person is hired," Dratch said.
A significant element required for JSafe's success is that it be utilized by most or all Jewish organizations and that many or most Jewish parents come to require it, Dratch said.

This is exciting news for the Jewish community. I hope and pray that Rabbi Dratch's work will prevent future abuse.

Read the whole story on the Forward website.

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