November 14, 2013
Three more people have alleged they were victims of child sexual abuse in Melbourne as the scandal that has embroiled the Jewish community since 2011 continues to deepen.
The three Jews – who have not been named – claimed they were abused at children’s homes run by a Jewish welfare organization in the 1960s.
Jewish Care Victoria – a major Jewish welfare organization in Melbourne – responded this week by establishing an independent inquiry to investigate the allegations.
The organization's president, Mike Debinski, said Jewish Care Victoria was morally responsible even though the organizations where the children were housed no longer exist.
“It is simply the right thing to do,” Debinski said in a statement. “We do not seek to sweep this issue under the carpet.”
Jewish Care has reported the allegations to the police, he added.
Professor Louis Waller, a respected Jewish legal academic, had been appointed to head the inquiry, Debinski said.
“Our primary concern is for the welfare of anyone who may have experienced abuse,” he said. “We will investigate all claims and are offering services such as counseling, case management and support.”
The news comes as police in Sydney claimed that victims of sexual abuse may have been paid to stay silent.
A report in Thursday’s Australian Jewish News quoted Ana Loughman, who is leading the investigation into child sexual abuse, saying, “We have information that people who may have been victimized may have entered into agreements for payment with other people not to disclose, report or come forward.”
Jewish Care Victoria is the latest organization to become embroiled in the scandal, following Chabad in Sydney and Melbourne, Adass Israel in Melbourne and Maccabi Victoria.