The handling of child abuse allegations
Is this a serious thread, or another dick measuring contest between Landy and Richard Oliver? Children are being raped after all....
Yes DD it's a serious thread. The WTS are rightly criticised for their appalling handling of safeguarding issues. There may be evidence to show they are getting better - I'm not sure.
But if we're given a clean piece of paper to rewrite their safeguarding policies, what would we put in place?
I was hoping for some cohesive rational thinking and so far Sir82 has come the closest to my way of thinking.
That said it still leaves two areas I'm uncomfortable with;
1) Are we willing to go to the authorities when the victim is now an adult and wants no part of it?
2) What procedures do we put in place to protect the kids in the congregation if the evidence is minimal and the police have decided that no further action is possible?
I think those are two legitimate questions. It's worrying that so many are quick to demonise somebody who even wants to have a sensible conversation about it.
I don't think anybody is trying to defend the WT's appallingly inadequate child welfare policies. The solutions are not entirely simple though. Yes if there is a report of an attack on a child the authorities must be told but not every scenario is clear-cut. Even the NSPCC the biggest child welfare charity in the UK is against mandatory reporting laws. When you read their reasons they have a good point.
I do think that enhanced DBS checks (criminal records) should be required for every elder and MS.
There's a lot of criticism surrounding the JW's handling of chiild abuse within their ranks with a lot of it being well deserved. But I'm interested to know how people on here think child abuse allegations should be handled.
You don't need to give specific scenarios for this. It's very simple. Report it to the authorities, support the victim and send the perpetrator to jail.
Elders are not professionally trained to handle this type of situations (and a whole lot of other things). They are NOT the right people to go to for this type of incidents. End of the story.
Let the professionals in the law and the welfare of children handle that AND DON'T COVER IT UP.
There is nothing to debate. Call the police and social services to protect the child and potentially other children.
Let's not leave uneducated, untrained, unqualified men managing criminal sexual abuse.
On hearing of it they should dial 999 and then do their job, providing pastoral support
Regarding mandatory reporting, I was interested to know the following details:
1. Can a concept of "Universal Mandatory Reporting" be brought into effect to curb this problem?
2. What are some reasons why certain states/countries do not have mandatory reporting law?
3. Are there studies that highlight the increase/decrease of reporting of child abuse cases in states with mandatory reporting laws vs states with no mandatory reporting laws? If reporting rates increase, how much percent of it are substantiated and how many non-substantiated?
4. In cases where individuals are legally required to report child abuse upon "reasonable suspicion" to the authorities, how many of such cases turn out to be unsubstantiated?
Sounds good. Somebody beating a drum and everybody else chanting, "call...the...police!" Then calling anybody with another thought stupid to bring more conformity. Sorry, peer pressure aside, myopia aside, there are some very naive people in this room.
Everybody agrees that current alleged incidents should be referred to the police. Part of what is not understood here is that the police like to prove their value by making convictions. They also like to let the public know that they are doing their job and making everybody a little bit safer. The word "discrete" is not in their vocabulary.
The next victim could be you. Go back 30 years in time. Have you succeeded financially? Target. Were you sometimes a jerk in the congregation? Target. Did you marry the sister of a jealous girl who is now a meth-head or heroin user? Target. And they will hit the bull's eye every time because everybody hates child molesters! You may feel safe because you never messed around with a minor, but you're not.
Call me stupid and it will only confirm what I feel. Forty or fifty year old adults coming forward with some fairy tale account of their being abused as a child are a sad lot. Maybe true, maybe not. The police don't know, but they sure know how to play it up! I know. Obviously, many of you do not.
In the UK, you (a person who is aware of child abuse allegations) can always contact the social services and have a confidential conversation with them about your concerns.
I have done this when I believed there may have been child abuse (in one case possible serious neglect, in another two cases - involving allegations of child abuse). In the UK the Social Services will listen confidentially and they can act to get (in an emergency) even without prior police or court involvement.
Also if it is a case of possible sexual child abuse they will often discuss your options in a reasonable way. If what you tell them is serious enough in their opinion then they can go to the police and importantly they can get court orders, safeguard children, remove children without having a conviction in court which may never even happen.
I have sat with social services staff to provide information and ask advice on three separate occasions and I have been to the police in two of those cases after a discussion with them. One case I went to the police because I had evidence of child abuse available to "help them with an investigation". In another I had simply an opinion that someone (a jw) was being fitted up by a spouse (also a jw) eager for a more favourable divorce.
So I have never been afraid of the social services or the police and after a couple of dealings with the (anonymous idiot wankers - sorry was that unprofessional of me?) "brothers" on the service desk I simply ignored them as they hmmmmed and haaaaawed and tried to dissuade me from imparting information to the proper authorities.
The present attempts to keep these matters secret, only serve to portray WT & JWs far worse to the general public, than if each instance was made known from the start while also stating appropriate corrective actions taken by the org.
I don't understand why so many think WT need to reinvent the wheel. The WT is not an island onto itself. I bet there are organizations that have adopted very appropriate policies for these situations and there is no reason those same policies can't be shared and adopted by the WT organization or at least on local levels as appropriate.
Even if great examples cannot be found, there is no reason Child Protective Services or the relevant division within local or state police can't be consulted to provide advice on appropriate procedures. If there are existing policies, those agencies could be requested to review and critique them.
While WT is quick to send various Bethelites to law school, I have not heard any indication of WT training anyone in child abuse matters. This is beyond a legal issue. They need to admit they do not have in-house expertise to develop an appropriate child protection policy. If the expertise is not available in-house, then it would be most appropriate for WT to consult specialized professionals outside of the org, just as they have done when attempting to defend themselves before the ARC and while in court.
Unfortunately, just having policies in-place does not in itself provide much, if those policies are not followed on all levels.
WT make extraordinary claims. They must then accept a higher than average responsibility to lead through example.