(JTA) – British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis called on the Jewish community to report allegations of sexual abuse “without delay.”
The statement was issued on Wednesday by the Office of the Chief Rabbi in the wake of the conviction last week of a well-known teacher at several Jewish schools for sexually assaulting in the 1990s two girls who came forward in 2013.
“Perpetrators of these crimes destroy lives, and every one of us shares in the responsibility to protect victims and potential victims. As such, we must not only ensure that all incidents are reported to the police without delay, but that we must do everything in our power to promote a culture whereby reporting such crimes to the relevant statutory authorities is supported and encouraged,” the rabbi said in his statement.
“I would like to commend the victims and others who withstood tremendous pressure and gave evidence. I hope that their courage will inspire others to come forward in the future,” Mirvis also said.
Mirvis called on Jewish communities across the country to review their policies and procedures for responding to allegations of sexual abuse and to have in place “robust” child protection policies. He said he was organizing a “mandatory, dedicated seminar” for community rabbis to better prepare them to identify and respond to incidents of child abuse.