Jehovah’s Witness sex abuse response ‘deficient’: Royal Commission

Sydney Morning Herald

July 31, 2015

Rachel Browne
Social Affairs Reporter

A sexual abuse expert hired by the Jehovah’s Witness Church told a royal commission the organisation failed to meet acceptable standards in its approach to child abuse allegations.

Under cross-examination, Monica Applewhite told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse the Jehovah’s Witness Church did not meet “best practice” in handling abuse claims.

Counsel assisting the commission Angus Stewart SC asked the church’s expert witness whether structures based on biblical scriptures were in line with benchmark standards.

The church’s policies for responding to child sexual abuse allegations were “deficient when measured against current best practice,” he said.

“Does it meet all current best practices? It probably doesn’t,” Dr Applewhite replied.

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