United Kingdom: Open Letter to Jehovah’s Witnesses on behalf of survivors of child sex abuse.

survivors of child sex abuse of Jehovah's Witnesses UK

An Open letter to Jehovah’s Witnesses UK on behalf of all UK Survivors of child sex abuse at the hands of Jehovah’s Witnesses

August 7, 2020

To the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United Kingdom,

We, the survivors of child sex abuse at the hands of Jehovah’s Witnesses, seek a public apology; we invite you to “say sorry” on behalf of your UK religious organisation, for your inadequate policies which have failed to protect us and the wider public from perpetrators of child sex abuse.

During the ongoing sex abuse inquiry in England and Wales by IICSA religious institutions, including Jehovah’s Witnesses on August 10, have the opportunity to go on public record with an apology; we ask you to admit that you are among the institutions that have let children down in the past and substantiate your claim to “abhor child abuse” with a contrite apology, as other religious institutions have done, rather than claim that you “do not have the institutional settings” to merit being investigated by IICSA.

One of your own articles in your religious magazine, The Watchtower, (under the heading “When an Elder Makes a Mistake”), explained how leaders in the Bible such as David apologized and therefore “trying to justify, ignore, or minimize a mistake is much more likely to cause others to lose confidence” whereas apologizing “earns the respect of others.” Whilst we welcome your recent small improvements, such as the change to no longer require survivors to face their abuser, such changes are absent of any apology despite decades of harmful practice. Any attempt by you to suggest that such improvements have always been in place is insensitive to victims. We would therefore like to remind you of some of the things that we feel merit an apology.

We would like an apology for:

  • Failing to report all allegations of child sex abuse to the authorities
  • Forcing survivors to have had to face their abuser in male-only judicial meetings.
  • Omitting to undertake criminal record checks for all congregation elders and ministerial servants.
  • Promoting unvetted members of your congregations to mentor children of single-parents.
  • Instigating the practice of unvetted ministers in your congregations inviting children to accompany them in preaching and on Bible study work after school.
  • Recommending children struggling with loneliness to befriend older, single men who work as ministerial servants in your congregations.
  • Teaching children that male elders can be trusted like Jesus, whilst omitting to inform parents that some elders have a history of child sex abuse.
  • Allowing known abusers to knock on doors of the unsuspecting public.
  • Mandating the shunning of those who speak out. (Shepherd Flock of God, Chapter 12, Paragraph 39 (4))

We also invite you to explain how survivors of child sex abuse can obtain future compensation, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in the UK accelerate their efforts to dissolve individual congregation charities, moving local funds and property assets under the protection of a company trust.

An apology can help heal, and is often sought in preference of financial assistance. We think it is the Christian thing to do, and so we appeal to you:

“Please say sorry.”

On behalf of all UK survivors of child sex abuse at the hands of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

12 thoughts on “United Kingdom: Open Letter to Jehovah’s Witnesses on behalf of survivors of child sex abuse.

  1. I tried talking to another Jehovah’s Witnesd about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) running rampant in Watchtower’s Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I said the elders should inform the legal authorities of cases of CSA, and she said something to the affect of:

    “Well, it’s a sin that should be handled by the Elders. I don’t even know if it is a crime.”

    This 50+ year old Jehovah’s Witness who has spent four decades of service to Watchtower DOESN’T KNOW IF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IS A CRIME! She DOESN’T KNOW if CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IS ILLEGAL!

    Talk about DISCONNECTED FROM THIS WORLD. Watchtower works hard to keep the JWs BLIND & IGNORANT to MAN’S LAWS, while at the same time, sweeping things against God’s laws, like Child Sexual Abuse, under the rug!!!

    1. What about the common core of humanity that screams that any damage to a child is a crime??? Have they really become so removed from reality? From true natural humanity?? The sooner that cult is expunged from the earth the better!

  2. It is so difficult to watch the manner in which the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization manipulates it’s members and the courts. However, they do and they get away with it everywhere in the world. However, eventually the lies and the coverups will catch up to them. Only uneducated people are going to join in the future. As for the current members there is little hope of them believing that the organization owes an apology. So it’s going to be a slow death not a quick end to this horrible organization.

  3. This is an excellent letter. Unfortunately the JW’s HQ in Australia has sent an enormous sum of money to the UK, supposedly as a loan, to avoid having to pay reparation, as small as it is, to the victims of their horrendous two witness rule. The likelihood of anyone observing the abuse of a child is remote indeed unless of course the viewer is as perverted as the perpetrator in which case they should be punished in court as well.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses have stated clearly that they will NEVER change the rules demanding two witnesses.

  4. Unfortunately the watchtower organisations mantra has always been never to apologise for anything, let alone how they continue to mishandle child sex abuse with their secretive hideous policies.
    To do so would set a chain of events in motion that would cost the watchtower organisation money, so they will continue to ignore the growing pressure for them to say sorry to their abuse survivors.
    AND thats the very reason the continuing Judicial Inquires & Criminal investigations are so very important.

  5. As a Survivor of this abhorrent abuse and the cover ups, I am asking a few things from you Watchtower.

    Say Sorry,

    Stop Shunning as this leads to suicide and makes you wholly complicit in the deaths of many people,

    Stop with the human rights abuses, stop making it sound like those who are not part of your group are all drug addicts, alcoholics and criminals, when your organisation has covered up criminal acts.

    Change your policy on child abuse. Elders should be reporting the matter to the authorities, disfellowshipping child abusers and not their victims. (Lev 5:1, Romans 13:1-14, 1 Corinthians 5:1-8)

    We ask you, if you do have a moral christian compass, to do the right thing here. Say Sorry, change your policies, do better for children in the future.

  6. I hope the regular Jehovah’s Witness who has some decency to know that it is the right thing to apologise sees this. As hundreds of victims, now survivors, are coping with life after abuse by a JW, it is time they were called to account for having inadequate policies. Let us hope the Charity Commission and the IICSA panel can add their weight to this. Great Letter and thank you for posting it here.

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