The United Synagogue has updated its child protection policy to ensure that there are trained officers at every level of the organisation, urging all community members to learn how to spot signs of abuse.
Those who lead children’s activities – such as youth workers, youth rabbis and local community safeguarding coordinators – will be expected to under-go a half-day training session, together with ongoing support from an enhanced central child protection team, while an information video will be made available to everyone who has contact with kids.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the United Synagogue has prioritised child protection since taking over from Lord Sacks. In 2015 he said: “Child abuse is a serious crime which can destroy lives and we have an obligation to safeguard the children of our community.”
The United Synagogue is required by law to provide its staff and volunteers with the appropriate tools to support safeguarding, but a spokesman said: “The US has looked to go far beyond what is required for child protection.”
In a video designed to help people identify child abuse, London Beth Din lawyer and caseworker Joanne Greenway says neglect is among the first signs and symptoms.
“Having heard from individuals who have been affected by child abuse, we appreciate the magnitude of these incidents and know we must do everything we can to prevent incidents from occurring. Nobody should have to go through the pain and trauma they have experienced”, she says.
“For an organisation, to get Child Protection right is a huge undertaking, both of time and expense. But the key point for us is to raise awareness of, and sensitivity around, this important issue. I hope that will impact far beyond The US.