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MP to raise church child abuse concerns on behalf of Hartlepool campaigner

Jack Ryan

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A CAMPAIGNER who wants to overturn a two-witness rule over child abuse within a major religious organisation has enlisted the support of his MP.

Steve Rose, from Hartlepool, a former Jehovah’s Witness, has been protesting against the rule, which stops senior figures in the church from acting against wrongdoing unless there are two witnesses.

Now he has contacted Hartlepool MP Mike Hill, who is raising the issue with Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk, who in turn is bringing the debate to Parliament, saying it was an ongoing child safety concern.

Mr Rose, who was once a member of HartlepoolÂ’s Kingdom Hall, said the two-witness rule makes it nearly impossible for action to be taken against perpetrators within the church who are brought to the attention of elders. And he claims anyone who reports the abuse faces being shunned by the congregation.

The church says the two-witness rule does not stop victims reporting allegations to the police. A safeguarding inquiry by the Charity Commission is ongoing.


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