Code of silence

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For the 1986 Billy Joel song, see The Bridge (Billy Joel album). For the 1985 film, see Code of Silence (film).
Not to be confused with Conspiracy of silence (expression).

A code of silence is a condition in effect when a person opts to withhold what is believed to be vital or important information voluntarily or involuntarily.

The code of silence is usually either kept because of threat of force, or danger to oneself, or being branded as a traitor or an outcast within the unit or organization as the experiences of the police whistleblower, Frank Serpico illustrates. Police are known to have a well-developed Blue Code of Silence. The code of silence was famously practiced in Irish-American neighborhoods in Boston, Massachusetts such as Charlestown, South Boston, and Somerville. Dan Goldberg and Danny Ben Moshe won Australia’s most prestigious journalism award, the Walkley Documentary Award for “Code of Silence,” which covers the fight for an investigation into allegations of child sex abuse at Yeshivah College, an all-male Orthodox Jewish school. It portrays the experiences of an Orthodox Jewish father and his son, after the son breaks the code of silence in Melbourne's Orthodox community and goes public with his story of being sexually abused as a student.[1][2] An Orthodox Jewish concept of mesirah forbids Jews from reporting crimes to civil authorities and keeping them with the Jewish community instead.[3]

A more famous example of the code of silence is Omertà (Italian: omertà, from the Latin: humilitas=humility or modesty), the Mafia code of silence.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "'Dan Goldberg, JTA’s Australia correspondent, wins award for sex abuse film' (Dec 8 2014) JTA"
  3. ^ "By SHARON OTTERMAN and RAY RIVERA 'Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse' (May 9, 2012) New York Times"