Jehovahs Witnesses: ‘Shocking failures’ in child protection in religious institutions, report finds

 IICSA Report – Conclusion 25:

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of few religious organisations which have an internal disciplinary process which can lead to the expulsion of members. The internal disciplinary processes of the Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to use a rule of corroborative evidence known outside the community as ‘the two-witness rule’, whereby in the absence of a confession the evidence of two material witnesses is required to establish an allegation, which can then lead to disfellowship for the purposes of internal discipline. The rule is not intended to be a safeguarding measure. Nevertheless, it has no place in any response to child sexual abuse and fails to reflect the reality that by its very nature child sexual abuse is most often perpetrated in the absence of witnesses. The rule’s capacity to cause harm to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse is clear. We have received first-hand evidence of this harm. As it presently operates, the Jehovah’s Witnesses internal disciplinary process for disfellowshipping members bears no relationship to how sexual crime happens. The continuing use of this rule shows a disregard of the seriousness of the crimes involved and their impact on individuals. It also lacks compassion for the victim, and serves to protect the perpetrator.

2 Sep 2021

Cathy Newman Presenter

Religious institutions are failing to protect children from abuse, according to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Their report into religious organisations found “shocking failures” in child protection.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, which have nearly 132,000 members in England and Wales, told the inquiry only 67 allegations had been reported to their branch office in a decade. We spoke to two former members of the group who were abused as children.

We put the allegations made in our report to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They told us the protection of children “is of the utmost concern and importance to all Jehovah’s Witnesses” and promised to “carefully and respectfully consider” all the recommendations made by the inquiry.

Warning: this report contains detail you may find distressing. And if you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in that report, you can go to for help and advice.




You can find more information about Jehovah’s Witnesses here:

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