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Statement From The Jehovah’s Witnesses

Statement to The Project regarding the National Redress Scheme and the sales of Kingdom Halls and properties

The religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses does not have the institutional settings that the voluntary National Redress Scheme is designed to cover. Therefore, the Ministry for Families and Social Services has been advised that Jehovah’s Witnesses will not join the Scheme. Jehovah’s Witnesses understand that, to date, there have been less than 10 applicants to the Redress Scheme who have referred to the religion of 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 religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses also provides spiritual comfort and assistance to child abuse victims and their families.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse acknowledged that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have the institutional settings that exist in many faith-based institutions. Jehovah’s Witnesses have not sponsored any programs or activities that separate children from their parents at any time. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not operate boarding schools or Sunday schools; they do not have youth groups, choirs or sponsor any programs for children; neither do they run orphanages, day-care centres, hospitals nor youth centres. Jehovah’s Witnesses simply do not have the institutional settings that result in children being taken into their care, custody, supervision, control or authority.

There are 762 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia. Congregations meet for worship in buildings that are called “Kingdom Halls”. Due to population movement and changing demographics, from time to time it is necessary to sell some Kingdom Halls and purchase others. Since some Kingdom Halls have been used for decades, it is more economical to sell than to renovate them. How Jehovah’s Witnesses determine where Kingdom Halls are located is explained in the video found on our website www.jw.org at this link:https://www.jw.org/finder?srcid=share&prefer=content&applanguage=E&locale=en&item=pub-jwb_201707_3_VIDEO&docid=1011214

Over the past five years Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia have purchased 7 new properties, constructed 17 new Kingdom Halls, and undertaken 430 renovations. To help offset the cost of these building projects, 27 Kingdom Halls and 11 plots of annexed land were sold during the same five year period. An additional $11 million was invested in these new building projects.