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:

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.