UK Charity Commission Press Release: Investigation leads to improvements in safeguarding at Jehovah’s Witnesses charity

From: The Charity Commission
Published:26 July 2017
The charity regulator reports on its investigation into Manchester New Moston Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses:

A Charity Commission investigation has led to improvements in safeguarding at a Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, according to a report published today (26 July 2017). The report also makes findings of misconduct and mismanagement against the charity’s trustees.

The Commission concludes that trustees of the Manchester New Moston Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses did not deal adequately with allegations of child abuse made against one of the trustees in 2012 and 2013. The individual was subsequently convicted of 2 counts of indecent assault.

The report details the findings of the regulator’s statutory inquiry into the charity, which opened in May 2014 to investigate the charity’s handling of safeguarding matters, including the potential risks to the charity and its beneficiaries relating to this individual.

The report also acknowledges that, since the inquiry was opened, the charity has improved its child safeguarding policy and its procedures for handling misconduct allegations.

The regulator’s detailed report highlights that the trustees did not identify one allegation as potential child abuse, dismissing it as ‘a matter between 2 teenagers’. The report also finds the trustees did not:
•fully enforce the restrictions they decided to place on the individual’s activities at the charity
•adequately consider and deal with potential conflicts of loyalty within the trustee body
•keep an adequate written record of the decision-making process used to manage the potential risks posed by the individual to the beneficiaries of the charity

The regulator’s report examines the events surrounding an internal disciplinary procedure, held to determine whether the abuser should be allowed to continue as a member of the congregation. The Commission finds that the victims of abuse were ‘effectively required’ to attend a hearing at which they had to repeat their allegations in the presence of the abuser, and the abuser was permitted to question the alleged victims. The trustees had argued that they were not responsible for the procedure and that the victims took part in the hearing voluntarily. The Commission accepts that the trustees did not themselves conduct the disciplinary procedure, but concludes that they carry ultimate responsibility and must be held accountable for the impact it had on the victims.

The report also criticises the charity for failing to cooperate openly and transparently with the Commission, stating that the trustees ‘did not provide accurate and complete answers’ about issues under investigation.

Harvey Grenville, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, said:

“As our report makes clear, the victims of abuse were badly let down by the charity. The trustees should have made the victims’ welfare their first priority. Instead, their actions and omissions, both in response to allegations of abuse, and in their attitude towards our investigation, fell short of what the public would expect of those running a charity in a modern society. Our report rightly holds the trustees of the Manchester New Moston congregation to account. I hope that it therefore provides some comfort and reassurance to those affected by the circumstances we have investigated.

“Our investigation has helped ensure that the charity has improved its procedures around the handling of child safeguarding concerns and its internal disciplinary process. Most importantly, the charity’s policy and procedures now make clear that victims of child sexual abuse are not required to make their allegations in the presence of the alleged abuser. They also state that protective restrictions must be put in place to protect the charity’s members from people found guilty of child sexual abuse by the criminal courts. We welcome these changes.

“I would like to thank all those who came forward to provide us with information and intelligence throughout the investigation.”

The Commission’s inquiry into another Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain, is ongoing. This inquiry is examining the child safeguarding policy and procedures further, as they are common to all Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations in England and Wales.

The Commission encourages people who have been affected by safeguarding in congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in England and Wales to make contact with the investigations team at IAEInvestigationsCRM@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/investigation-leads-to-improvements-in-safeguarding-at-jehovahs-witnesses-charity

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/manchester-new-moston-congregation-of-jehovahs-witnesses-inquiry-report


Comments

UK Charity Commission Press Release: Investigation leads to improvements in safeguarding at Jehovah’s Witnesses charity — 3 Comments

  1. So small improvements in front of such a huge problem. The Charity Commission had to investigate and put their nose into the way of handling abuses in UK congregations to obtain that the victim will not make their allegations in the presence of the alleged abuser. This change should have been OBVIOUS to the WT, if they really had shown care and comprehension for the victim’s situation.
    In the course of the past years, it seems that WT’s attitude was that of humiliating and intimidate the victims, in order to discourage them to report the abuse to authorities!

  2. My heart goes out to these victims, and all victims across the world in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Organizations across the world. These investigations will not stop here in the UK, but it will set a precedent for the ones to follow. Hats off to the judge who listened with the best interest of children at heart everywhere. Finally someone was willing to do this on a grand scale where it will set a path for us to start clearing these congregations of these pediphiles. I am deeply crushed in my heart after finding all this out only two weeks ago. All the secrets, lies, deceit, and demon mediums used among this organization in its management is jaw dropping. It has shaken me to my core. Do not dismiss it. Do not be mistaken, He is coming… And He is not happy. He is coming for you Watchtower. You are responsible for the deaths and misery of so so many of his innocent children trying to do what they thought was right by Him. But you misled them/us/used to be me. And now you will pay for following the Devils lead in doing what you knew was wrong because THE WORD OF GOD clearly says do not mislead His people or change His word.

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