Over 100 people have come forward so far with allegations of child sexual abuse by Jehovah’s Witnesses across the UK.
Former members of Jehovah’s Witnesses have come forward with details of the cover ups and lies by senior members. The senior members, known as Elders are described as discouraging the victims from coming forward “for fear of bringing reproach on Jehovah” and “being exiled from the congregation and their families”
48 people have come forward so far with allegations of physical abuse and 35 people who witnessed or heard about other victims of child grooming and abuse.
Rachel Evans, one of the alleged victim claims there was a paedophile ring in the 1970s. Another victim has told the Guardian how she was abused by a ministerial servant in the 1970s.
She described the abuse as: “I was sexually abused many times a week from the age of three until I was 12. Congregation Elders knew that when I told them, at 12, what had been happening. No steps were taken to tell the police. I had to tell three male senior figures what had happened. Imagine that? A young girl telling a bunch of men what this man did to me. I wasn’t even allowed to have my mother there with me.”
The victim did report the abuse to the Police later and the abuser pleaded guilty and was convicted. The victim now has mental health issues as a result of the abuse and how it was handled by the elders. She believes that the Jehovah’s Witnesses should lose their charity status as they are not protecting children.
When a Jehovah’s Witness experiences sexual abuse they are supposed to report it to Elders who will then take further action if there is a second witness to the offence. The perpetrator will then be called before a judicial committee if they admit abuse or if there is a second witness. This method causes further trauma to the victim and may be the reason many victims do not report the abuse.
The headquarters of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watch Tower, is reported to hold a database of abuse allegations made within the organisation. This record has not yet been disclosed to the authorities. The Watch changed its policy last year so that victims no longer had to confront their abuser face to face.
Operation Hydrant said that it was currently dealing with 45 potential victims of child abuse within a Jehovah’s Witness setting. They encourage anyone affected in England and Wales to come forward.
If you have been affected by anything in this article and would like to speak to one of our highly qualified abuse team members in confidence, then please do not hesitate to contact us. Our highly skilled abuse team will advice you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are highly experienced in this area. They are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these types of sensitive cases. Please contact the abuse team on 0800 9555 094.