September 1, 2017 BOE Re: Protecting Minors From Abuse?
I'm not sure crossing out paragraph 19 of chapter 12 of ks10 is a step in the right direction. On the surface, it appears to be but notice what is being crossed out:
If you are asked, make it clear that whether to report the matter to the authorities or not is a personal
decision for each individual to make and that there are no congregation sanctions for either decision.
This is being replaced with:
they should be clearly informed about their right to file a complaint with the authorities.
Notice the elders aren't being told to make it clear to the parents that there are no sanctions for reporting. They're only mandated to tell the parents that it's their right to report to the police. Then the elders are told to not criticize anyone for making that decision.
I can well imagine elders comparing the new instruction with what they're being told to cross out to see what the difference is and, when noticing that the new instruction does not say to tell the parents there are no sanctions for reporting, might conclude that they should not tell this to the parents. So I can see a conversation going like this:
Elders: It is your right to make a report to the police if you so desire.
Parents: But would that bring reproach on the congregation? Would that affect our standing in any way?
Elders: All we can say is that it is your right to make a report to the police if you so desire.
Parents go away thinking that the elders are legally required to tell them that it's their right to report but that their unwillingness to say what effect such reporting would have on their standing, might be a subtle way of hinting to them, by omission, that they should not report because there will be adverse consequences, and that maybe they're legally barred from explicitly saying so.
They should have replaced paragraph 19 of chapter 12 of ks10 with:
Be sure to clearly inform the victim and/or their parent(s) that reporting the matter to the authorities is a moral responsibility and that there are no congregation sanctions for doing so. (Leviticus 5:1; Matthew 22:39; Romans 13:1-4)
This new statement release is just more white washing over the real responsibility of how to address a case of child sexual abuse.
The end of it all will always be protect the public image of the organization, try and investigate but if you come up short, just let it rest in Jehovah's hands.
The WTS leaders and elders are stupid nit wits in handling dire social behaviors that are extremely dangerous and damaging to individuals.
They play god and open the bible for their guidance and we all known the 3000 years civilization of the Hebrews were on tops with social morals and standards to live by.
After rereading the letter it seems the WTS has taken a bit more of a proactive position, whether that gets implanted down to the Congregation level remains to be seen.
It would be a good guess that there are going to be some elders who rather promote leaving the situation within the congregation and handled internally, its that public image thing you know.
It's a slight improvement over previous letters, but still falls short of, "if you suspect something...call the cops."
Wasn't there a letter last year, about CALLING THE POLICE immediately if vandalism is found to have occured at a Kingdom Hall? Would be interesting to read that one again. Anyone have a link to it?
Thank you Wifibandit.
But especially thank you to the Australian Royal Commission (who I hope have a copy of this) who have placed hooks in the jaws of Watchtower and dragged them screaming and kicking to this point.
Keep up the pressure on these evil bastards.
Nitpicking aside, it is an improvement.
Elders are to advise parents and/or victims they can report it to authorities. Elsewhere in the letter the elders are told that there will be no sanctions against parents or victims.
I have no doubt these improvements are the result of the level of pressure applied to the GB as a result of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Institutional Responses to Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse.
"they should be clearly informed about their right to file a complaint with the authorities."
So the "faithful slave" is trying to appear proactive by stating the obvious to J.W. parents?
Maybe it's only "worldly" parents who know they have a right to report the rapist of their child to the police.
The WTBTS is not advising parents to report such sick & depraved individuals to the authorities, thereby protecting other potential victims. Oh no, they've set the example of protecting "Jehovah's name" in places such as Australia and become a safe haven for predators of children.
Slimy wording from the org's snakes again.
Is it not strange that the average JW believes that approval is needed from the WT organisation before approaching the legal authorities for such serious crimes like child abuse. In NL, consented sex with minors (I believe 16 or less) is illegal and considered a crime. Are they (congregational elders) going to report this as having knowledge of such a relation requires reporting?
Anyway, the slightly adjusted policy can be considered a slight improvement (if at all), it is sad that this document 1) will not be shared with the rank and file and sad that 2) the rank and file are under the impression that their spiritual leaders are there to protect them and 3) that JW's look up to the organisation to drive the key decisions in their lives.
Victims of child sexual abuse are not handled judicially. However, if the body of elders believes that congregation action may be warranted in the case of a mature minor who was a willing participant in wrongdoing, two elders should call the Service Department before proceeding.
The issue here seems to be the difference in the 'age of majority' (ie when a person stops being a 'minor') and the 'age of consent', which are not the same.
It appears that generally the age for consent is lower than the age for majority.
For example I understand that in New Zealand the 'age of consent' is 16, but the legal term 'age of majority' is 20.
Hence the above quote to cover the situation with 17, 18 and 19-year-old 'mature minors' in New Zealand.