Jehovah’s Witnesses, five others fail to sign up for child sexual abuse redress scheme
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Despite the Royal Commission finding that the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not ‘adequately protect’ children from abuse, they’ve decided not to sign up for the redress scheme, citing the differences in their institution.

 

 

The Morrison government has made good on its threat earlier in the week, naming the institutions that failed to join the nationwide child abuse redress scheme.

It is believed that the institutions are the Australian Air League, Boys’ Brigade New South Wales, Fairbridge Restored Limited, Lakes Entrance Pony Club, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Kenja Communications. According to the social services minister, Anne Ruston, the six will be unable to apply for funding, may also lose their charitable status and the tax concessions that come with it.

“It is completely unacceptable that these institutions have failed to meet their moral obligation to join the national redress scheme,” Ruston said this morning.

 

“It is completely unacceptable that these institutions have failed to meet their moral obligation to join the national redress scheme,” Ruston said this morning.

 

“These are institutions which know they been named in applications and yet they have chosen to shirk their responsibility to finally do the right thing by these survivors.”

As a direct result, It is believed that more than fifty applications made by survivors can no longer be processed.

The most notable absentee, the Jehovah’s Witnesses purportedly decided not to sign up to the scheme because it didn’t have the institutional settings of other faith-based institutions that the redress scheme is designed to cover.

According to the Report of Case Study No. 29 – The response of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd to allegations of child sexual abuse, released in 2016, “The Royal Commission found children are not adequately protected from the risk of child sexual abuse in the Jehovah’s Witness organisation and does not believe the organisation responds adequately to allegations of child sexual abuse. From the evidence presented, the Royal Commission considers the Jehovah’s Witness organisation relies on outdated policies and practices to respond to allegations of child sexual abuse which were not subject to ongoing and continuous review.

“Included in these was the organisation’s retention and continued application of policies such as the two-witness rule in cases of child sexual abuse which, the Royal Commission considered, showed a serious lack of understanding of the nature of child sexual abuse. It noted the rule, which the Jehovah’s Witness organisation relies on, and applies inflexibly even in the context of child sexual abuse, was devised more than 2,000 years ago.”

The national redress scheme was instituted in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Institutions involved in the program will be required to provide counselling to abuse survivors, offer a personal apology and a payment up to $150,000.

Social services minister, Anne Ruston, took to the media today, and said that failure to join would be “reprehensible”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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