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Friday, August 09, 2013 

Rise in reports of child abuse in Beit Shemesh this year

Reports of abuse doubled as a special outfit set up to investigate found:
Reported instances of child abuse among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Beit Shemesh is on the rise, according to a recent report by Magen, a local child protection organization.

In the first six months of 2013, Magen received over 75 new cases of suspected sexual child abuse – a dramatic increase compared to the 70 new cases they received during the whole of 2012.

According to David Morris, director of Magen, the organization anticipates receiving up to 150 new cases of suspected abuse during 2013.

Morris has previously decried what he believes to be “a deepset culture of non-reporting and cover-up” among ultra- Orthodox Jews. Haredim, he told The Jerusalem Post in January, prefer “dealing with child abuse within the community,” via “parents, professionals and community leaders” and “some community leaders implicitly discouraged victims and their families from reporting sexual abuse allegations to the police and social services.”

The uptick in reports does not indicate an increase in actual incidences of child abuse, Morris told the Post. Instead, he asserted, it a sign that Magen’s education and awareness programs are working, and that Magen is now well-established and trusted and more people are willing to come forward with their stories.
Well done. And this explains how isolationism of this sort led to a lot of harm. But now, people are luckily beginning to have the courage to speak out.

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