Jehovah's Witnesses Criticised For Handling Of Sexual Abuse Claims

Legal Experts Call For More Transparency From Religious Groups


Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

A leading sexual abuse lawyer has called for the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation to operate with greater transparency after the group came under increasing pressure to address its handling of sexual abuse allegations.

The comments from Natasha Fairs, an Associate Solicitor at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, follows last month’s decision by a judge to uphold a ruling against the UK’s leading Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Britain (WTBTS).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses had failed to protect a woman, known in proceedings as A, from sexual abuse from aged four.

More recently, the Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the WTBTS to prevent a Charity Commission inquiry into how the charity deals with allegations of abuse.

In A’s case the high court awarded around £1m in damages and legal fees against the WTBTS following three appeals against the judgement by the organisation.

While the decision sets a precedent that could expose the organisation to further claims, the  WTBST continues to fight Charity Commission orders to provide documents on sexual abuse allegations, as well as other aspects of the inquiry, in lower courts.

Expert Opinion
“The high-profile cases we have seen in the past few years, like Rotherham and Savile, have highlighted the issue of abuse like never before.
“Like those cases this one serves as an important reminder of how people in positions of trust and power can take advantage of innocent victims.

“Sadly, we deal with many cases where people have been abused resulting in the survivor suffering devastating and lifelong issues. It is vital steps are taken to ensure they obtain justice and get answers.

“It is unacceptable that these survivors of abuse are being denied the answers they so deserve.”

Natasha Fairs, Associate