Why Jehovah’s haven’t joined child sex abuse redress scheme
A Jehovah's Witnesses spokesman has revealed why the organisation is yet to join the National Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.
The spokesman said the religion "does not and has not" sponsored any activities that resulted in children being under its care, custody, supervision, control or authority.
The spokesman said Jehovah's Witnesses didn't provide or sponsor the likes of creches, playgroups, boarding schools or Sunday schools, nor did it run any orphanages, youth centres or other activities where they assumed responsibility for the care of children.
"This is based on Jehovah's Witnesses' understanding of Bible commands such as Deuteronomy 6:6, 7, which give parents the sole scriptural responsibility to provide religious education and training to their children and that others should not usurp or assume that parental responsibility," the spokesman said.
"This is one of the core religious beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses."
Given that, the spokesman said the Jehovah's Witnesses religion did not have the "institutional settings that the scheme is designed to cover".
"Thus, the allegations of child sexual abuse made against Jehovah's Witnesses have rarely involved an institutional setting," the spokesman said.
"Of course, our not joining the voluntary scheme does not mean that we are not responding to individuals who have made a claim against Jehovah's Witnesses.
"Jehovah's Witnesses have responded and will continue to respond directly to individual claims for redress in a caring, fair, and principled manner, taking into consideration the unique circumstances of each claim."
The explanation came after the Department of Social Services this week revealed more than $6 million had been paid to more than 100 survivors of child sexual abuse who were currently based on the Coast.
The department did not break down which institutions those survivors had suffered the abuse in.
In June last year the Jehovah's Witnesses were named by the federal government as one of six institutions which had failed to sign up to the National Redress Scheme.
Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston, AM, said it was "not acceptable" that the Jehovah's Witnesses had not signed up to the redress scheme yet.
She said it was in the best interests of institutions to sign up to the scheme, and to upskill within their organisation to ensure child sexual abuse didn't happen again.