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Nightmares, self-harm, miscarriage: Sisters reveal  legacy of abuse 

TJI Pick
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Nightmares, self-harm, miscarriage: Sisters reveal legacy of abuse

Published: 30 June 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Malka Leifer watched from prison as the sisters she abused delivered their victim impact statements during a pre-sentencing hearing on Wednesday

A Melbourne court has heard how the crimes of convicted paedophile Malka Leifer left her victims "utterly broken".

Dassi Erlich said she had since suffered from feelings of shame that had led to self-harm.

"Her abuse still lives within my body; in some ways her trauma will always live within my body. The abuse I suffered did not make me stronger, it left me a traumatised adult," she said.

Elly Sapper told the court she had been pregnant during the trial in April but had lost the baby six days after it ended, and would never know whether the loss was due to the stress of the trial.

She said she had experienced panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks throughout her life, had been hospitalised and had  been treated with many medications to try to reduce the impacts of her trauma.

Leifer was convicted in the County Court of Victoria of 18 offences, including rape and child sexual assault crimes, relating to the abuse of Sapper and Erlich when she was principal and they were students at the Adass Israel School in Melbourne in the early 2000s.

Victim of former principal Malka Leifer reveals she lost baby during sexual-abuse trial (ABC)

‘Leifer stole my body’: Sisters reveal lasting legacy of abuse by former principal (SMH)

Photo: Dassi Erlich outside the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne on Wednesday (AAP Image/James Ross) 

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