Leaders of a Manchester (England) Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses failed in their efforts to avoid a government investigation of the way it managed allegations of sexual abuse by (or involving) its members. Claiming “religious discrimination,” the overseers (“elders”) of the congregation failed to make their case before a regional judge.
The year was 1919. He was seven, the oldest of four surviving children. He was his immigrant father’s workhorse who was ordered to do man-sized jobs. Therefore, to keep the family warm, the child, not the father, often walked the long, wind-whipped city blocks carrying a heavy burlap sack of coal on his back which eventually bowed his developing legs.
After reviewing Jehovah’s Witnesses’ 2017 Child Safeguarding Policy for the UK and Ireland, I have one question: When will stubborn Watch Tower leaders and legal departments instruct elders to stop trying to investigate child abuse allegations and immediately call the authorities?
Supposedly the 2017 CSP (Child Safeguarding Policy) improves on current JW policies, making them more palatable to the Charity Commission. I feel that it is incomplete and inadequate – and here’s why:
Personally, I think that the Charity Commission should reject the CSP of JWs in the UK. If this is what they offer as their “best effort policy document,” then guidelines should be given for an acceptable CSP of JWs in the UK by the Commission. Then, if the CSP of JWs in the UK is not in line with Commission regulations, there should be penalties. Most importantly, Commission regulations should be in line with child sexual abuse laws of the country. If needed to keep children safe, the Commission should press the government to change or adjust the laws in this regard.
Reviewing the released policy, the only statements that touch on the actual subject are sections 1-3, 6, and 19-22 – and those do not protect children.
I repeat: Will these stubborn men never learn to instruct elders to bow out of doing an investigation into child abuse allegations and immediately call the authorities?
However, segment #13 indicates that there is an exception to the rule: “A report to the police or other appropriate authorities will be made immediately by the congregation elders if it is determined that a child is still at risk.” This sentence was also in the 2013 Policy. However, what if the child is “not at risk”? What then? Apparently, in that case, elders do not report the abuse to the police.
That begs the question: What if the child is “not at risk” or in immediate danger? What then? Apparently, in that case (based on the policy), elders do not report the abuse to the police. The policy, as written leaves a very wide and deep “loophole.”
I can only guess that this CSP of JWs in the UK POLICY document, which is similar to the original one, represents the CSP of JWs in the UK – and not of the WTB&TS of Britain’s CSP – because of legal liability. Otherwise, why would they make this change?
In the spring of 1975, Frederick W. Franz, considered since the mid-1920s to be the Watchtower’s “official oracle,” stressed the urgency of the Christian preaching work during his public speeches. Why? Because he believed that 6,000 years of human history would end that next September or soon after.
Europa Press reports that AbusosTJ (JW Abuses), an activist group in Spain, plans to file a legal complaint against the Watchtower offices in Spain. This action is due to their refusing to release internal documents, files and other evidence involving dozens of child abuse cases within the Jehovah’s Witness religion.