Ultra-orthodox Jewish communities and child sexual abuse: A case study of the Australian Royal Commission and its implications for faith-based communities

Philip Mendes, Marcia Pinskier, Samone McCurdy, Rachel Averbukh

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1 Citation (Scopus)


To date, little is known about manifestations of child sexual abuse (CSA) within ultra-orthodox Jewish communities both in Australia and abroad. There is a paucity of empirical studies on the prevalence of CSA within Jewish communities, and little information on the responses of Jewish community organisations, or the experiences of Jewish CSA survivors and their families. This paper draws on a case study of two ultra-orthodox Jewish organisations from the recent Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to examine the religious and cultural factors that may inform Jewish communal responses to CSA. Attention is drawn to factors that render ultra-orthodox communities vulnerable to large-scale CSA, religious laws and beliefs that may influence the reporting of abuse to secular authorities, and the communal structures that may lead to victims rather than offenders being subjected to personal attacks and exclusion from the community. Commonalities are identified between ultra-orthodox Jews and other faith-based communities, and reforms suggested to improve child safety across religious groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalChildren Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Australian Jews
  • Child sexual abuse
  • religious and cultural factors
  • Royal Commission

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