Shuls use toi­let walls to tar­get do­mes­tic abuse

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTER

SYN­A­GOGUE DE­NOM­I­NA­TIONS from Lib­eral to strictly Ortho­dox have agreed to give over space on thou­sands of ladies’ toi­let walls to reach vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

The char­ity Jewish Women’s Aid has reached agree­ment to place posters in syn­a­gogue toi­lets all over Bri­tain to alert women vic­tims of do­mes­tic abuse to its ser­vices. The cam­paign, to be launched in the next few weeks, is in­tended to give “a pub­lic voice to a private prob­lem”, ac­cord­ing to JWA chief ex­ec­u­tive Abi­gail Mor­ris.

The char­ity be­gan to con­tact the syn­a­gogue bod­ies af­ter dis­cov­er­ing “a dis­pro­por­tion­ately high level of re­fer­rals from women who are mem­bers of syn­a­gogues which dis­play our posters in the toi­lets”, she said.

The women, Ms Mor­ris said, can be alone and can read and as­sim­i­late the in­for­ma­tion “with­out be­ing ob­served.

–ABI­GAIL MOR­RIS It may be the first time they re­alise there’s a name for what they or their loved ones may be suf­fer­ing.”

The posters state that one in four women in the wider com­mu­nity suf­fer from do­mes­tic abuse, and that the Jewish com­mu­nity is no dif­fer­ent. They in­clude the Jewish Women’s Aid free helpline num­ber, 0800 59 12 03.

The project has been em­braced with en­thu­si­asm by syn­a­gogue group­ings. The United Syn­a­gogue’s in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive, Stu­art Tay­lor, said the US “fully sup­ports the valu­able work JWA does in the com­mu­nity”; the Rab­binic Con­fer­ence of Lib­eral Ju­daism was “unan­i­mous” in sup­port­ing the idea; the Re­form move­ment’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Rabbi Tony Bay­field, de­scribed it as “a priv­i­lege” to en­dorse the cam­paign; while the Fed­er­a­tion of Syn­a­gogues not only ap­proved the plan but sug­gested that JWA posters should go up in mik­vaot (rit­ual baths) as well.

Ms Mor­ris said this week that she had also had in­for­mal agree­ment from some of the Adath syn­a­gogues.

“It’s a big step for­ward for the Jewish com­mu­nity,” she said. “We hope that the posters will go up na­tion­wide at the same time, and we are lam­i­nat­ing them and hav­ing stick­ers on the back, so that they are ready to go up on the cu­bi­cle doors straight away.”

Dav­inaJames-Han­man,di­rec­to­rofthe Greater Lon­don Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence, said the project was “an amaz­ing coup”.

Part of the JWA bath­room poster

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