Monday, March 29, 2010

Child Abuse: R' Silman - force abuser to pay for therapy (translation)


This is my translation of part of the recent Yeschurun article.

R’ Yehuda Silman (Yeschurun page 589-590): Is there an obligation for the molester to pay for psychotherapy? One major talmid chachom questioned whether psychotherapy is included in the payment for ripoi (cure). That is because he claims that we know from experience that those who are molested as children or as teenagers are rarely cured. He says that in the majority of cases the treatment that takes place over many years only helps to deal with the associated problems [and isn’t a cure]. I disagree with this position. The fact is that in a large percentage of cases there is fact full recovery and in almost all cases there is at least benefit from the therapy and thus it is obvious in my opinion that psychotherapy is included in the category of ripoi (cure). Consider the case of someone who was physically assaulted but there is no cure to his wounds and consequently he is required to have treatment for the rest of his life – would anyone seriously think that this treatment is not called ripoi (cure) – of course not!

This answer would seem to be relevant only for those e.g., Sephardim who follow the view of Rav Yosef Karo. He states in the Shulchan Aruch (C.M. 1:2) that the contemporary beis din judges and exacts payment for unemployment (sheves) and cure (ripoi). However this apparently is not applicable for those who follow the view of the Rema who rules that we don’t judge and exact payment today in these matters. In fact there is no practical difference between the two positions. The Rema continues by saying, ”We force the assailant to placate the victim and we fine him according to what is deemed appropriate by beis din as is explained in sif 5.” There the Shulchan Aruch states, “Even though judges who don’t have semicha in Israel do not collect fines nevertheless we ostracize (nidoi) the assailant until they placate the victim and when they give the appropriate amount then we free them.” Today when we don’t ostracize (nidoi) the advisable approach is to put pressure on the assailant that he is to be ostracized in various ways as a substitute for nidoi. In the case where the assailant has signed an agreement which includes the right of the judge to decide what is best then it is also possible to obligate him to pay money.

Also a good suggestion is that where there is communication between the sides such as in the case of teachers (the majority of cases of abuse are these types) – one should insert an explicit clause in the agreement between the two sides which states that the abuser is obligated to pay according to the decision of the judge. It is also a good idea to specify that the plaintiff is the parent of the child and where that is not possible or if they don’t want to - then the principal should be listed.


2 comments :

  1. one should insert an explicit clause in the agreement between the two sides which states that the abuser is obligated to pay according to the decision of the judge.

    You cannot force a defendant to accept such a clause for the Beis Din trial.

    The defendant can say he holds like the Rema.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where can this journal be purchased?

    ReplyDelete

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