Update to UK “Child Safeguarding Policy”
It appears that many here have the complaint that it is the official policy that they have an issue with, not that there were elders who didn't follow the official policy. So if the UK Charity Commission and if they use the same policy in Australia to show the ARC. If one or both of those commission's accept it as acceptable policy. What do u think about that?
The two points of your first sentence go hand in glove. A flawed policy that wasn't even coherently written in one document to be adhered to - coupled with elders (by and large) who only followed what the next man up the command chain told them to do.
I believe that the policy is only in place because of the last twenty years of outcry by brave souls against this self-preserving, money grubbing organisation.
This document is only in place because of the hard work of the ARC and the fear of the forthcoming UK Charity investigations.
Read it carefully - look at the puffed up wordiness of it - e.g "abundance of information and spiritual advice" and the cherry picking of ass-covering scriptures in e.g. using Deut. 6 v 6,7 - Prov 22 v 3 - Galatians 6 v 5. Then over 60 pages of magazine articles attached.
This document is only there because Satan's legal system put hooks in the legal department's jaws and dragged it out of them.
And why is it only available "on request"? Why no letter to be read informing the congregation of its existence?
The UK Charity Commission as I understand it, are investigating the manner in which safeguarding issues are handled in Britain by the watchtower bible and tract society of Britain specifically. I think the laws are slightly different in Australia.
some changes that seem new to me are that (in bold)
C H I L D S A F E G U A R D I N G P O L I C Y January 2017
4 direction to congregation elders. In all cases, the victim and her parents have the absolute right to report an allegation to the authorities.—Galatians 6:5. ...
Where the alleged abuser is one of the victim’s parents, the elders would not report to him, but would report to the other parent. If a parent is not available, two elders will contact the Service Department at the branch office to request situation-specific spiritual guidance and direction. If any congregation elder learns of a case of child abuse in which a child may still be at risk of significant harm two elders must contact the Legal Department at the branch office for legal advice on compliance. A report to the police or other appropriate authorities will be made immediately by the congregation elders if it is determined that a child is still at risk.v In the case of any discussion with a child abuse victim, an elder will not be alone with the child but will involve another elder and the child’s parent(s), not including a parent who is the alleged abuser. If the child expresses to the elders discomfort in discussing the matter in the presence of a parent, and the parent agrees, then the child may be gently told that he or she may choose an adult companion other than a parent, with whom he or she feels comfortable speaking about the matter, to be present during the discussion. During the investigation process and any subsequent congregation judicial committee hearing, a victim of child sexual abuse is not required to make her allegation in the presence of the alleged abuser.
C H I L D S A F E G U A R D I N G P O L I C Y January 2017
5 A person who has engaged in child sexual abuse does not qualify to receive any privileges or to serve in a position of trust or responsibility in the congregation for many years, if ever. vi A person who has been found (either by a congregation judicial committee or the secular authorities) to have engaged in child sexual abuse might be a member of the congregation. In all such cases, restrictions will be imposed on the individual’s activities within the congregation, his participation in the public ministry and his interaction with children for the protection of children.(but I think they need to more specific here) In particular, the individual will be specifically prohibited and admonished from being alone in the company of children, cultivating friendships with children or displaying any affection for children, other than his own when he is legally entitled to do so. In some cases, the Service Department may specifically direct elders to inform parents of minors within the congregation of the need to monitor their children’s interaction with an individual who has engaged in child sexual abuse.
I have just received a text from an elder I've known for decades in my circuit who has some sympathy for my feelings and who is aware of the ARC, the UK charity commission, etc., etc. Here it is verbatim, and my reply.
"New document about CAbuse. Any member of Cong can ask to see it. Says elders to tell police. Much more in line with real world."
My reply: "Glad to see Satan's wicked legal system forcing change. Shame we can't do it without outside pressure."
Having compared the 2012 and the latest 2017 versions, there appears to be no change regarding reporting to the police? Am I missing something?
2012:  A report to the police or other appropriate authorities will be made immediately by the congregation elders if it is determined that a child is still at risk. vi
- 2017: [13} A report to the police or other appropriate authorities will be made immediately by the congregation elders if it is determined that a child is still at risk. v
I've done a side-by-side comparision of the 2012 and the 2017 versions - if anyone is interested you can view it here
First page sample below:
I have been involved in child welfare through sport for many years. Every adequate Child Welfare policy emphasises one key point...
If you become aware of an allegation of child abuse you WILL contact the police or social services. If a child doesn't want you to contact the police you will still contact the police. You should also inform the child welfare officer of your local club or national sport governing body. However this is secondary to your requirement to inform the police or social services.
The Child Protection in Sport Unit has the (financial) support of Sport England
The CPSU has procedure flowcharts outlining the safeguarding reporting procedures for
1. About the behaviour of the organisation’s staff member or volunteer
2. About the behaviour of another organisation’s staff member or volunteer
3. About children and young people arising out of sport (e.g. within the family at home, at school or in the community)
Looking at the WT's 2012 Policy (Section 8) - it would seem that WT is effectively calling the Elders in the individual congregations 'members of staff', and the trained 'Safeguarding Elders' at the Branch Office, the 'Safeguarding Lead Officer/s'.
I do believe that this policy is going to be presented to the UK Charity Commission, to either resolve any concerns that Commission has with their policy or face their continued investigation. I also believe, that a version of this will be presented to the ARC, as their meeting in March is not dedicated to hear about new allegations but how Watchtower Australia is responding to the Commission's recommendations. So I do believe that this document or a version of it will be either accepted or rejected by two different governments. Though my question to everyone here is. If 2 separate governments and their experts, find that this policy is sufficient to protect children and comply with the laws of the land, will people accept it or will they keep using the policy to demand changes to Watchtower?
You keep asking the same question, Richard. The question is rhetorical. But I will give a response anyways.
The ARC will not accept this policy because it fails to address one of the primary concerns that was raised by the commission: there are no women involved in the judicial process.
That is going to be a big problem for the org and one that will preclude these policies being accepted as sufficient.
Regardless, the "if" in your query is just that, Richard...it is just an "if".
So...IF the bear hadn't stopped to take a shit in the bush...would he have caught the rabbit?
OrphanCrow. The ARC knows that they don't have the authority to make a change like you are bringing up. They know that their own freedom of religion laws would prevent them from forcing a religion to do something that has no public safety effects on it. Western Governments, like the UK and Australia won't force religions to do something that they cannot show a clear public interest need. Examples of that would be stopping religions from handling dangerous snakes in public or consuming otherwise illegal narcotics. Any reasonable person would not contend that making a religion, incorporate women into a "priest or minister" roles is a need of the public's interest. That would mean that they would have to force, Muslim communities to make women Imams, Catholics to make women priests and the examples go on and on.
But Watchtower UK has made it clear that women can be involved in a JC, though they wouldn't have a vote in the matter of what actions to take, but women can be used to protect the interest of the child. In the police it states.
"If the child expresses to the elders discomfort in discussing the matter in the presence of a parent, and the parent agrees, then the child may be gently told that he or she may choose an adult companion other than a parent, with whom he or she feels comfortable speaking about the matter, to be present during the discussion."
So even though a woman may not be in the discussions for if someone would be DF or not they would be there as a comfort to the victim and to protect them emotionally.
The ARC knows that they don't have the authority to make a change like you are bringing up.
So what's your point in asking the same question over and over again?
OrphanCrow. You state that IF are not valid things. And you used the Bear thing as an example. Then please explain how do things change. It is someone comes up with an idea and then determines what would be the result of making those changes, those are hypotheticals until the changes are implemented. Just admit that no matter what Watchtower does, even if every expert and government in the world agree that their policy protects children you wouldn't be satisfied.