Saturday, July 23, 2011

Aguda attempts to clarify views on reporting child abuse to police

 There are couple of unclarified issues 1) what does the rabbi do that necessitates asking permission. Is this a question of psak or of objectivity. If it a question of rodef there is no need for a psak and if it objectivity then why is a rabbi considered more objective than non rabbis. 2) what happens when there is mandated reporting and the rabbi says not to report it 3) where does rodef enter here - it was declared to be an unnecessary concept at the Aguda Conference. 4) What do you do when the  rabbi you consulted says not to report to the police but you feel otherwise?

Agudath Israel of America has received several inquiries in the wake of misleading claims that have recently been made about our stance on reporting suspected child abusers to law enforcement authorities. We take the opportunity to clarify our position.

As Torah Jews we live our live our lives in accordance with halacha. The question of whether and under what circumstances one is halachically permitted or required to report to the authorities suspicions of child abuse (including sexual molestation) has attracted the attention of a number of our generation’s most prominent rabbinic authorities. Many of their responsa have been collected in the respected Torah journal Yeshurun, Volumes 15 and 22.

As elaborated at a recent Halacha Conference sponsored by Agudath Israel of America, these responsa make clear that when certain standards have been met it is not only permitted but in fact obligatory to report suspicions of abuse or molestation. The general principles that emerge from these responsa are as follows:

1. Where there is “raglayim la’davar” (roughly, reason to believe) that a child has been abused or molested, the matter should be reported to the authorities. In such situations, considerations of “tikun ha’olam” (the halachic authority to take steps necessary to “repair the world”), as well as other halachic concepts, override all other considerations.[...]


  1. I find that post infuriating and grossly self contradictory.
    Yes you can do it if there is raglayim l'davar but since we won't even attempt to give you some case studies which indicate there is raglayim l'davar save for the obvious case where you catch someone in the act, one must conclude that all other cases have to go to a Rabbi who does not seemingly exercise halachic judgement but makes a value judgement based on the views of experts! I don't get it.
    Wouldn't it be useful for them to publish ten clear cut examples where one must run to experts (yes, the police) and ten examples where one should not. They won't give us these examples because everything "depends" and contains incomplete information. They also fail to tell us what the DIN is in the case of a sofek! Do they really think that the sofek becomes erased even AFTER consultation with an expert. I'm dumbfounded, or perhaps they think we are dumb.

  2. josh werblowsky m.d.July 25, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Rav Eidensohn your questions are right to the point.
    As you know, the actual conference stated that all cases need the approval of the Rav before going to the authorities.They even included mandated reorters who by state law and Israeli law must report to the authorities,must first get the permission of the Rav.READING THE STATEMENT CAREFULLY,THERE CONTINUES TO BE A REQUIREMENT BY THE AGUDAH TO GET THE APPROVAL OF A RAV IN ALL CASES.


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