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Board to crack down on sexual harassment in the Jewish community

Comments come after six women told the JC how they had been the victims of inappropriate behaviour from male colleagues

    Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush
    Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush

    The Board of Deputies is examining “ways to put in place robust and clear procedures” to tackle sexual harassment in the community.

    Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board, said he was “very concerned about reports of sexual harassment occurring in public life in our country” and planned launch a consultation across the community on measures to combat the problem

    He said the Board was responding to claims of abuse within the community by establishing ways in which “unacceptable behaviour can be effectively challenged and an environment created where every person feels respected, secure and protected”.

    The Jewish community was no exception to wider to society and reports of sexual harassment, like those that have rocked Hollywood and Westminster, must be taken seriously, he declared.

    “It is important that we have a much clearer picture of the extent of any sexual harassment allowed to occur and whether it is being properly addressed,” he said.

    “The community must set itself high standards and adopt equally high expectations of behaviour in our communal, professional and personal life.”

    His comments come after six women told the JC how they had been the victims of inappropriate behaviour from male colleagues while working for Jewish communal organisations, and how their complaints were ignored.

    Mr Arkush said: “Every person has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.  No one should have to suffer unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature.

    “Society must recognise and uphold clear boundaries in the way that we interact with each other.

    “Noone should be left in any doubt that behaviour towards another person that they find offensive or which makes them feel distressed, intimidated or humiliated is completely unacceptable.”

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