The film is about child sex abuse (CSA) in the Jewish community: how it happens, where it happens & what adults can do to prevent it. It’s a call for community action & change as it provides participants with the practical tools & the confidence to intervene to save a child. It’s based on the principle that effective intervention has to happen from the inside out, starting with community-wide education & engagement based around a series of “steps” which provide the film’s structure. It’s an inspiring story about those who stand up & say “enough”, as the presenter led film opens up to worldwide cases of CSA in the Jewish community. Archive brings historic cases to life as we meet survivors, teachers, parents, police, psychologists & Rabbis whose stories help build the 5 essential steps to protect children: 1/ Knowledge about child sexual abuse such as the grooming process, 2/ Minimising risk (in homes and institutions), 3/ Talking about it, 4/ Recognising the signs & 5/ Responding.
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
Child sex abuse (CSA) is a recognised global phenomenon. In Australia, Israel & the US, around one in five children, 20% of the population, has experienced some form of CSA. In Australia it has been the subject of a Royal Commission which included case studies into the Orthodox Jewish Chabad sect. As the world comes to grips with the scale of CSA, more cases have emerged in the Jewish world. The problem is particularly acute in insular and secretive Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. While statutory protections are important, CSA is a community problem that requires community responsibility and action: child protection is everyone’s responsibility and this film makes that clear. Jewish organisations need tools to address this phenomenon in diverse communal settings. While there are some films with an educational and social impact focus they are aren’t geared to the Jewish demographic. SAFE STEPS offers a tool that focuses on Jewish cases and does so in a culturally sensitive way.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
1/ Raise awareness and educate the community about CSA, 2/ Encourage and empower Jewish organisations to adopt best practice in addressing CSA, 3/ Assist in the healing process for victims, survivors and their families, 4/ Make it clear that CSA in the Jewish community is everyone’s responsibility and individuals need to act in their home environments rather than rely on institutional actors. The film will fill a gap in programs by offering an accessible tool for communities and individuals
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
Short term: Global Jewish organisations will be made aware of the film in order to consider its use. The film will help bring a new community wide approach to addressing Child Sex Abuse (CSA) onto organisational agendas & offer a tool for communal programming.
Medium term: The film will be rolled out in & by Jewish organisations. It will have wide exposure amongst Jewish educators, lay & religious leaders who will be involved in its dissemination as organisations will encourage adult members to watch the film at home, & it will be discussed in Jewish media. Jewish individuals watching the film online in their own homes as well as in communal settings will come to accept they, as well as institutions, have responsibility for CSA prevention.
Long term: Participating organisations will change and develop more effective child protection policy and practice, with ongoing vigilance and action about CSA by community members.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
The filmmakers have a partnership with a global Jewish child protection NGO who are bringing together a team of experts for the filmmakers to consult as they write the film and educational handbook. The film is informed by the advice of Kol v’Oz on content and style, and cultural sensitivity, to resonate with those who watch it. Kol v’Oz are also assisting the filmmakers in sourcing participants in the film, including survivors of child sex abuse, Rabbinic authorities and lay leaders from welfare and law enforcement sectors in Australia and overseas. Kol v’Oz have directed the filmmakers to several child protection films and resources used by other communities, which have helped inform the documentary this proposal is for. Kol v’Oz have introduced the filmmaker to donors in Australia who are ready to back this film through DAF. Kol v’Oz will drive the film’s dissemination.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
Individuals and organisations will have a clear idea on what they do to enhance child protection through the unfolding of the “steps” covered in the film and educational guide and knowing they can turn to Kol v’Oz for assistance implementing their program.
The community will have better knowledge of child sexual abuse, attitudes about it will change and most importantly protective behaviours towards children will change.
Examples of the protective behaviours towards children changing: organisations using the film to adopt rigorous child protection policy and practices, parents minimising risk before they allow their child to sleep over at a friend’s home.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
The films aims for more Jewish community to be active in preventing child sexual abuse to prevent it by significantly improving attitudes, knowledge and behaviour. It will be hard to establish a direct qualitative nexus between such outcomes and the film, but the film will be an important part of a broader debate and resultant policy, practice and behavioural change about child sex abuse in the Jewish world. Measures of this will be events and discusions in communal settings and media. A quantitative achievable indicator for success will be its uptake by the partner organisation Kol v’Oz and then the number and range of Jewish organisations who program the film in their communal settings, the number of hits the film gets online and the number of articles about it in Jewish media. Uptake will also be measured by downloads and hard copy requests of the educational guides.