Former Jehovah’s Witness says church missed chance to right wrongs

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A former Jehovah’s Witness hopes more survivors of abuse will come forward, knowing that the church will face scrutiny over what happened to children and young people in its care.

The High Court in Wellington has dismissed a legal bid by the church to be excluded from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

Former Witness Mikail Steens was glad the church would face scrutiny and hoped more survivors would take part.

“I just wish from the outset they’d gone, ‘Look, this could be a good thing, it could improve the way that we approach matters in our organisation, let’s adapt and change and be open to constructive criticism,’ but they’ve taken the complete opposite stance on it.

“I think they’re going to end up with a bit of egg on their face following this.”

Steens said by sharing what information they had with the inquiry, the Jehovah’s Witness church would help people who had been affected by abuse.

He said he had been in contact with survivors who were pleased with the High Court’s decision.

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