15 September 2018 | Say Sorry
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its final report on 15 December 2017. The Final Report presented some disturbing facts such as 4,444 cases of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Australia and over 1,800 cases of child sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia.
To compensate victims a National Redress Scheme has been established to provide compensation for past wrongs. To date the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have not given direction or approval for either the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd, to join the scheme thereby preventing victims from obtaining compensation for past wrongs. The Australian Government is continuing its work to encourage every non-government institution to make amends for past wrongs and to join the National Redress Scheme.
The achievements of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse are a tribute to the victims and survivors, their families and supporters. Their courage has helped create a culture of accountability and of trust in children’s voices that help all of us take responsibility for keeping children safe and well.
The National Apology was developed on the advice of an independent, survivor-focused Reference Group and was shaped and informed by the wishes and views of victims and survivors. In facilitating this, a national consultation process was undertaken reaching out to survivors and those affected by child sexual abuse, which invited their contribution to the development of the National Apology.
Consultations with communities, including survivors of abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses, took place throughout Australia between May and July 2018.
On Monday 22 October 2018, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, will deliver the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse at Parliament House in Canberra. This apology follows the individual apologies to child abuse victims and congregations by religious leaders and religious institutions across Australia, with the exception of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have refused to ‘say sorry’ to any victims or survivors of child sexual abuse or to acknowledge their suffering.
Jehovah’s Witness victims and survivors to attend the National Apology ceremony
A number of Jehovah’s Witness victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, and their supporters, will be attending the Apology ceremony in Canberra on Monday 22 October 2018 to hear the Prime Minister’s apology. To coincide with the National Apology an ‘Invitation to Apologise’ will be delivered to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York, USA. on behalf of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia.
Representatives from SaySorry.org and JW Survivors (Ex-Jehovah’s Witness community) will be in attendance at Parliament House to draw attention to the fact that the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses refuses to apologise, refuses to recognise the Royal Commission’s findings, and refuses to adopt the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
The Say Sorry Team
Related Media Releases
Links to media releases and statements by the Australian Government are available below:
- 11 September 2018 – Attorney-General: National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse
- 7 June 2018 – Attorney-General: Turnbull Government encourages child sex abuse survivors to contribute to National Apology
- 9 March 2018 – Attorney-General: National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Reference Group
National Apology Information Line (Australia only) – 1800 604 604 (open 9:00am-5:00pm AEST).
The National Apology Information Line enables survivors and their supporters to seek further information about all aspects of the Apology and the arrangements for its delivery.