First to state what the Australian Royal Commission was NOT.
This was NOT an investigation into Jehovah’s Witnesses and it did not start out with any involvement of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Please be fully aware every bit of information I share is from the OFFICAL Royal Commission report.
The Royal Commission was established in 2013 in response to the growing number of child abuse cases from within the Catholic Church.
(To compare recently in the United States the Federal Government got involved with the case of sex abuse of the Catholic Church. If the American Government were to expend its investigation to involve every institution that deals with children it would take in thousands of organizations including Jehovah’s Witnesses but it would not mean that it was an investigation targeting Jehovah’s Witnesses. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pennsylvania-clergy-sex-abuse-catholic-church-federal-subpoenas-department-of-justice-2018-10-18/ )
After the Royal Commission was established in 2013 they opted to include every organization and institution throughout all of Australia that has contact with children. This means each and every religion, all government organizations that have contact with children, the YMCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys Schools, Girl Schools, Public Schools, Orphanages, any and all and it included thousands of organizations. The reality was that AFTER an investigation started into the Catholic Church the Royal Commission was created to “look” at how other organizations handled reports of child abuse. Jehovah’s Witnesses WERE NOT under investigation, like all the other thousands of organizations they were questioned about procedure. Sure Jackson was not handled with kid gloves but no one else was.
The different organizations and institutions were then broken down into groups, at the top of the all the groups was the total of all abused children. Then as each category was created the abused children were placed into each top category, the categories were broken down further and further. Soon you had just a single RELIGIOUS category that took in EVERY religion together as a group. That means the abused children in this group came from ALL different religions. The total of abused children from ALL religious groups was 4,029 (from the Royal Commission report www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au )
Quoting from the report:
“The largest number of these survivors spoke to us about child sexual abuse in Catholic Institutions. We heard from 2,489 survivors about child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, representing almost two-thirds (61.8%) of survivors who told us about child sexual abuse in RELIGIOUS institutions.”
So now the factual truth, the numbers as they apply to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
First these figures are from 1950-2017 so 67 years. Remember the TOTAL number of child abuse cases in ALL religious institutions was 4,029, this was the TOTAL from ALL and most of those occurred within the Catholic Church. So from 1950-2017 how many cases occurred among ones referring to themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses….70. A total of 70 cases. Here is how those broke down. 44 were abused by an adult (family member) 12 were abused by another child then after all the numbers were considered there were 5 survivors left, of these 5 - 13.8% of that last 5 were abused by someone within the congregation and of that last physical number of 5 – 9.2% were abused by a person in authority. 5 physical survivors over 67 years at 9.2% that is less than 1 person.
I am not trying to be cold, I myself am a survivor of child sexual abuse, but opponents of Jehovah’s Witnesses are intentionally twisting this data and it is causing lies to spread about the purpose and scope of the Royal Commission. It is worthy to note that the Royal Commission pointed out that Jehovah’s Witnesses were corporative and willingly and without warrants shard information and documents that were requested by the Royal Commission. In the Royal Commissions own report they bring out how corporative Jehovah’s Witnesses were. The Royal Commission also pointed out that they made suggestions to Jehovah’s Witnesses some of which were taken and applied.
- The Royal Commission was NOT an investigation into Jehovah’s Witnesses
- But was in fact an investigation into the Catholic Church.
- It covered a span of 4 years and included ALL institutions that had contact with children
- Opponents to Jehovah’s Witnesses have posted only the interview with Jehovah’s Witnesses to give the incorrect impression that it involved only them
- Every overseer of every intuition was videoed resulting in thousands of hours.
- The opponents have omitted data to imply false numbers to Jehovah’s Witnesses in the hope that no one will read the report to learn the truth.
- Opponents have applied the total number of survivors to only Jehovah’s Witnesses when the report clearly states that it is a total of all religious institutions and that the Catholic Church does in fact have the majority of that number as abuse cases.
- The number of abuse cases involving ones calling themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses was limited to 70 and of these the majority occurred within the home by a family member and was not reported to anyone outside the family. It is important to note that there are those who call themselves one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and they may attend only the annual memorial. They are not active in the religion.
- The report does not put Jehovah’s Witnesses in a negative light or suggest are state that child abuse is covered up or that members are transferred.