Jehovah's Witnesses Specialists
Over the past few years multiple cases of child abuse by Jehovah's Witnesses have been exposed in the media. We currently represent several clients who were abused by Elders and Ministerial Servants in their congregations.
AO Advocates acts in the UK's first successful civil case against the Jehovah's Witnesses
We secured an award for our client for sexual abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of Peter Stewart, a Ministerial Servant of the Jehovah's Witnesses. This success marked the first time that a civil claim has been brought against the organisation for child abuse. We hope that it will serve to encourage more survivors of child sexual abuse to come forward.
AO Advocates and AAWA delivered 'two-witness rule' campaign letter to 10 Downing Street
AO Advocates campaigned alongside AAWA (Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses) and a number of survivors of abuse to raise awareness of child sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses . A letter was handed in to 10 Downing Street highlighting the Jehovah's Witnesses' reliance on the two-witness rule (explained below). The letter calls for Ministers to introduce mandatory reporting whenever an allegation of child sex abuse is made within the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Press coverage of the campaign can be viewed here.
The Jehovah's Witnesses' use of the 'two-witness rule’ explained
The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Bible is a literal translation of God's word. In Matthew 18: 15, 16 Jesus said:
“Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.”
The two-witness rule means that for any sin to be proven within the Jehovah's Witnesses' congregation, it must be witnessed by two people. However, their strict adherence to this rule means that in our client Amelia’s case her allegations of sexual abuse could not be corroborated by two witnesses, which in turn meant that her allegations of abuse were not taken any further when she reported them to the Elders of the congregation. The Jehovah's Witness two-witness rule protects the abuser and not the child, allowing allegations of sexual abuse to remain hidden. Our client Amelia filed a civil case against the Jehovah’s Witnesses and won; she was awarded £275,000 in damages. For our client this award represented the acknowledgement and apology she had been seeking for the sexual abuse she suffered between the ages of 4 and 9.
 Not her real name.