The Inquiry was setup in 2015 for England and Wales

This picture was taken October 2015 when my friends Marc and Cora and myself delivered a letter to number 10 Downing Street asking for an inquiry to be done into the JWs. It took many years of campaigning until eventually the IICSA did give us a day to be heard. I am part of a Core Participant group who worked night and day to see that IICSA saw the problems with in the JW organisation. And that is all we had from them – one day.

On 2nd September 2021 they published their report, it can be found here: https://www.iicsa.org.uk/publications/investigation/child-protection-religious-organisations-settings

Many journalists picked up on the story and reported on it which was great to see, for example Channel 4 News ran this piece: https://www.channel4.com/news/shocking-failures-in-child-protection-in-religious-institutions-report-finds

However in my opinion it nowhere near went far enough to address the very real problems that victims and survivors are facing within ‘religious’ organisations. The report simply published what we already knew and had heard. Additionally it repeated the replies made by the very organisations they were looking into and not enough of the other side of the story, making the bad practices look acceptable.

For example, with the JWs the report made this observation:

25. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of few religious organisations which have an internal disciplinary process which can lead to the expulsion of members. The internal disciplinary processes of the Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to use a rule of corroborative evidence known outside the community as ‘the two-witness rule’, whereby in the absence of a confession the evidence of two material witnesses is required to establish an allegation, which can then lead to disfellowship for the purposes of internal discipline. The rule is not intended to be a safeguarding measure. Nevertheless, it has no place in any response to child sexual abuse and fails to reflect the reality that by its very nature child sexual abuse is most often perpetrated in the absence of witnesses. The rule’s capacity to cause harm to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse is clear. We have received first-hand evidence of this harm. As it presently operates, the Jehovah’s Witnesses internal disciplinary process for disfellowshipping members bears no relationship to how sexual crime happens. The continuing use of this rule shows a disregard of the seriousness of the crimes involved and their impact on individuals. It also lacks compassion for the victim, and serves to protect the perpetrator.

IICSA report, Internal disciplinary processes

However there was no recommendation on what changes they must make! Instead they quote the JWs rebuttal that they have a policy in place for allegations of child sexual abuse.

For this inquiry to have taken as much time as they did in putting together their report I would have expected it to be an accurate portrayal of the real issue they were assigned to look at, and make more recommendations than they did.

I hope that their final report on all their whole investigation puts Mandatory Reporting forward as a must, this will protect so many children who are currently at risk within these organisations.