Despite the Jehovah’s Witnesses receiving more than 1000 allegations of child abuse since the 1950s, not one perpetrator was reported to authorities, the Child Abuse Royal Commission heard.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses Royal Commission inquiry was told that a culture within the church fostered a distrust of secular authorities and this dissuaded members from reporting abuse allegations.
While the Jehovah’s Witnesses has rejected this claim, it has stood by the Church’s practice of requiring alleged abuse victims to appear before a committee of male elders.
“Formed in the US in the late 19th century, the Jehovah’s Witnesses first became active in Australia in 1896. There are currently 817 congregations in Australia with more than 68,000 active members”
In 2014, Geoffrey Jackson, one of the seven members of the church’s US-based governing body, told the Royal Commission the church may support a redress scheme for Jehovah’s Witnesses child abuse survivors provided that there was nothing “scripturally” against it.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body oversees decisions regarding the church’s 8.2 million members internationally.