On reporting child abuse

On reporting child abuse

In reply to Israel Wahrman’s Aug. 5 op-ed, which attempts to draw a distinction between Rav Elyashiv’s view and the opinion of the RCA and New Jersey law regarding reporting suspicions of child abuse, I find that his representation based upon an examination of general statements is open to question.

Whether there may be a true difference of opinion regarding whether reporting is required can be ascertained only by addressing particular instances rather than attempting to invoke differing approaches based upon general policy statements.

A simple read of his presentation leaves the reader with the conclusion that all three opinions are in actuality on the same page regarding the grounds for reporting child abuse. In the author’s words, according to R. Elyashiv, “raglayim la’davar [roughly, reason to believe], RCA’s stance “those with reasonable suspicion,” and New Jersey law “any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse” convey that all authorities concur that reasonable cause for suspicion of child abuse will mandate reporting to the authorities.

In fact, in the Aug. 3 Mishpacha magazine, Rabbi Zweibel writes the following: “Under the guidelines of Rav Elyashiv shlita and other gedolim, raglayim l’davar comes mighty close to ‘reasonable cause to suspect.’ They are so very close in my opinion, that I don’t envision frequent clashes between the secular law and the halachah.”