Jehovah’s Witness Elders ‘Liable In Failing To Protect Abuse Victim’

High Court Case ‘A Reminder Problems Can Emerge In All Walks Of Life’


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

Specialist lawyers have welcomed the High Court’s ruling that Jehovah’s Witness elders should be liable for failing to protect a woman from abuse by a ministerial servant.

The woman, now in her 20s and known as A, has been awarded damages of £275,000 in relation to abuse carried out between 1989 and 1994, with the case thought to be the first against the religious movement.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Globe said trustees of the Loughborough Blackbrook Congregation and of the Loughborough Southwood Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses – the successors of the Loughborough Limehurst Congregation – should be held vicariously liable for the assaults.

The ruling stated that the elders failed to take steps to protect A and others after they had been told in 1990 that Stewart had assaulted another child in the congregation.

It is thought the organisation will consider an appeal of the decision.

According to specialist abuse lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, the case was another example of how abuse can emerge in all walks of life.

Expert Opinion
While high-profile cases of abuse such Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris have put the issue in the spotlight like never before, a case like this is an important reminder how problems can emerge in many different parts of society.

“Many of the abuse cases we are involved in relate to instances when people in a position of trust or power have taken advantage of their situation to prey on innocent victims.

“The impact such abuse has on victims cannot be underestimated, as it often leaves people with physical and psychological trauma from which they never fully recover.

“It is always vital that steps are taken to ensure victims of abuse are able to access the support and care they need to get the best from life – and the funds secured by A in this case will go some way towards that.
Tom Fletcher, Associate