Have Watchtower changed their polices to report to police child sex abuse?

by pleaseresearch 16 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • pleaseresearch

    Hi all

    Just speaking to a sister about the Royal commission.

    She said they they have now changed their guidelines so that they now report all to the police.

    Really? Does anyone know if this is true?


  • nugget

    I have been given the latest copy of the policy for the UK. Elders are told to contact the legal department and comply with local laws. Elders are not explicitly told to contact authorities.It acknowledges that parents or other individuals may chose to report it to the authorities but nowhere are they encouraged to do so. Elders will contact the police if they determine that the child is still at risk and after taking advice from the society.

    The policy states that Parents have the primary responsibility for the protection,safety and instruction of their children. The implication being that it is their responsibility to protect their children not the elders responsibility.

    Because the society does not provide Sunday schools or youth groups they do not fall under legislation for the protection of children.

    The child will still be required to give evidence at a judicial committee but not in front of their abuser. The child can chose to have an adult representative to support them other than their parents although they will still be questioned by the elders.

    Throughout the policy child abuse is referred to as a sin when it is in fact a crime.

    The policy also makes the assumption that all abuse victims are girls which is a mistake as abuse victims can be of either sex.

    A change seems to be that parents of minors may be told to monitor their childrens' interactions with a particular individual if elders receive this instruction from the service desk to do so.

    There have been some changes but it falls far short of what is needed. No involvement of women in the process other than as an adult representative. Elders receive no specialist training in safeguarding and the policy shows that there are still gaps in understanding of what is involved and the need for long term support for the victim. I was disappointed with the policy.

  • sir82

    In the latest BOE letter on the subject (at least the one sent in the USA), there is this statement:

    The congregation’s handling of an accusation of child sexual abuse is not intended to replace the secular authority’s handling of the matter. (Rom. 13:1-4) Therefore, the victim, her parents, or anyone else who reports such an allegation to the elders should be clearly informed that they have the right to report the matter to the secular authorities. Elders do not criticize anyone who chooses to make such a report.

    This is a slight difference from previous versions of this letter, in which elders were not instructed to tell parents or "anyone else" that they had the right to report it to police.

    In the previous versions, it was written that parents had the right to report and should not be criticized or sanctioned if they choose to do so, but elders were not instructed to tell that to the parents. Parents had to pretty much figure that part out on their own.

    Now, elders are explicitly instructed to tell the parents / others that they have the right to go to the police.

    It is, IMHO, an incremental improvement over their previous policies. Far from sufficient, but at least a step in the right direction.

    One glaring omission is that this new guideline does nothing to help the situation where the abuser is a family member, perhaps even the parent, and those who report the abuse to the elders are fearful to go to the authorities. Elders are still instructed to "call legal first", in which call they will be told to report the matter only if legally required to do so (and there are many states in the USA where this is not a legal requirement).

    There are of course other problems. As noted, far from sufficient.

    Maybe - maybe - GB version 3.0 will become more enlightened and further refine their policy. Meanwhile, of course, thousands of kids suffer due to their still-inadequate policies.

  • carla

    The elders have to tell the members they have the 'right' to go to the police?!

    In normal society it wouldn't even be a question if one should report a crime and there would be no need to check with their so called spiritual leaders before doing so. Remind me again why they don't think they are cult?

  • Lett The Shunning Begin
    Lett The Shunning Begin

    The policy has made some very tiny tweaks, but that unfortunately is as far as it will go.

    Remember Gary Breaux, "We will NEVER change our policy" on 2 witnesses.


  • Anders Andersen
    Anders Andersen

    No, they have not.

    Their policies has always been to never report, unless it's required by law.

    In some cases they have tried to get out of the obligation to report by claiming clerical privilege.

    So wherever JW claim 'we are now reporting' they actually mean to say 'we do the bare minimum as required by law' and 'the law on reporting child abuse has changed in this region'.

    But wherever the law doesn't require it, they're still not reporting..

  • jochie

    The New Dutch version of the Child Safeguarding Policy (March 2018) says something differentlely than the BOE Letter of September 2017.

    But the accompanying letter in which this Child Safeguarding policy was introduced to the BOE it states that Elders should srictly follow the instructions in the september 2017 letter (and not the Child Safeguarding Policy).

  • Bad_Wolf

    Elders: "Yes, you have the 'right' to go the police but we have the 'right' to remove your toilet scrubbing and microphone privilege"

  • careful

    he New Dutch version of the Child Safeguarding Policy (March 2018) says something differentlely than the BOE Letter of September 2017.

    Jochie, would you like to share that with the membership here?

  • Fay Dehr
    Fay Dehr

    Hi Pleaseresearch. It's great that you're in a position to speak with other JWs "under the radar" - please be careful not to say or do anything that could jeopardize that. Despite the March 2018 broadcast, it would seem that elders are going around distributing verbal rumours that "the organization has changed it's policies". Sadly, this is at best "wishful thinking". The truth is, if any elder uses their conscience and calls the police then they will be crushed under the boots of the 'ateful eight. Check this sad recent case where elders in Ireland used their conscience and contacted the police...only to be stamped on: https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/5660134124552192/irish-elders-deleted-watchtower-reporting-child-sex-abuse-allegation-police

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