Chris Webber, Reporter (Stockton/Hartlepool)
Saturday 26 December 2015
A FORMER Jehovah’s Witness from Hartlepool calling for changes in the way the church deals with victims of sex abuse has been interviewed as part of a major national investigation.
The church is reeling after a Royal Commission in Australia made 77 adverse findings about the way the church dealt with sex abuse accusations in Australia and in the UK in October campaigners wrote to the Government arguing it should be mandatory for the church to go to police whenever an allegation is made.
That follows two high profile North-East cases where Jehovah Witnesses were criticised in court in the last two years for not going to the police when allegations were raised within tight-nit church communities in Washington and in South Shields.
Now Hartlepool man and campaigner, Steve Rose, has been interviewed by the Charity Commission which is conducting a long-term investigation into the religious group’s safeguarding procedures.
Mr Rose has previously been featured in The Northern Echo after raising concerns about practices in the church. On that occasion he claimed he had been ‘shunned’ and ‘disfellowshipped’ from the church after falling out with other members. He said that for younger and more vulnerable members with fewer friends outside the group the effect can be devastating.
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