channel4 [Update Program shown here Wednesday Jan 30] An undercover investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches reveals that some rabbis in the Strictly Orthodox Jewish community forbid or discourage alleged victims of child abuse from going to the police.
There is no suggestion that child sex abuse is any worse in this religious community. However, the film exposes how the Strictly Orthodox, or Charedi, community's approach to child protection can leave children at risk and shield abusers from justice.
The programme, airing on Wednesday 30th January on Channel 4, includes:
- Secret filming showing Rabbi Ephraim Padwa - who leads the Charedi community in London's Stamford Hill - instructing an alleged victim of child sexual abuse not to go to the police describing it as ‘mesira’, which means it's forbidden to report a Jew to non-Jewish authority.
- Hears about a family that reported an alleged child abuser to the police and was then harassed and driven out of the community - as one Rabbi says: "they would be cursed and spat at in the street and called informer”.
- Interviews members of a group of young Charedi men who became so disillusioned with the failure of rabbis to deal with complaints of abuse they have taken the law into their own hands by threatening and attacking alleged perpetrators.
On the eve of the broadcast - two leading British rabbinical authorities representing a wider spectrum of the Jewish community, have issued statements and guidance to their communities on how to report child sexual abuse – emphasising the importance of reporting such allegations to the police.[...]