Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Jewish Community: A Literature Review

Efrat Lusky-Weisrose, Amitai Marmor, Dafna Tener

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sexual abuse is a cross-cultural phenomenon related to multiple cultural contexts including religious affiliation. The Haredi, or Orthodox Jewish community (OJC), constitutes a significant minority group of the worldwide Jewish population, characterized by cultural conservatism, steadfast loyalty to the community, and strict religious behavioral codes. To date, only few empirical studies (as opposed to multiple media reports) have dealt with the issue of sexual abuse within the OJC. Using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, we conducted a systematic review of the literature on sexual abuse within the OJC and its subgroups that addresses experiences and reports of victims, perpetrators, the Jewish and general community, and professionals in the North America, Israel, and Australia. Articles were collected from peer-reviewed databases and bibliographies; 13 quantitative and qualitative articles were included in the final sample. Three themes emerged: disclosure of sexual abuse, perceptions and attitudes toward the abuse, and its implications. Results indicated that alongside several findings that were specifically grounded in the context of closed collective or religious societies and the OJC in particular, most essentially reflected universal aspects of sexual abuse. The results suggest promoting context-informed interventions based on community knowledge and resilience, together with appropriate training in order to better understand the needs of the OJC and of closed communities in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1103
Number of pages18
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Haredi community
  • Orthodox Jewish community (OJC)
  • cultural contexts
  • religious communities
  • sexual abuse
  • ultra-Orthodox community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Applied Psychology


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