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Offences involving Jehovah's Witness - 054/22

Date Responded 28 January 2022

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

“This is a Freedom of Information Act request for information for data you hold investigations into allegations of child sexual abuse and/or exploitation (CSA/E) related to the Jehovah's Witness organisaton.


For the questions below, please take the phrase "involving the Jehovah's Witness organisation" to mean that the accused and / or the victim were a Jehovah's Witness.


The questions are listed in order of priority, please answer as many as possible within the allotted time.


  1. How many allegations of child sexual abuse and/or exploitation involving the Jehovah's Witness organisation has your force received over the past 10 years? Please provide an annual total for the number of alleged perpetrators/suspects of this crime notified to your force each year.
  2. How many investigations into allegations of CSA/E involving the Jehovah's Witness organisation has your force carried OUT over the past 10 years? Please provide an annual total number of investigations for each year.
  3. Please break down the total number of investigations by status. This can be 'live' or 'closed'. If 'closed', please specify the investigation outcome, including but not limited to: no further action (NFA) by police, NFA by the Crown Prosecution Service, caution, acquittal or conviction.
  4. For all investigations which were closed following NFA by police, please state the reasons why no further action was taken (such as, suspect deceased; suspect not identified/traced; victim does not support police action; insufficient detail/evidence; and specifically, whether lack of cooperation from the Jehovah's Witness organisation was also a contributing factor.
  5. For all investigations of CSA/E involving the Jehovah's Witness organisation, please can you state whether a report of the alleged abuse was made within the Jehovah's Witness congregation/organisation before it was reported to the police? For example, the JW organisation may have disclosed to you internal documents they had in relation to a report of the alleged abuse.”


As per our acknowledgement to you, we are taking it that ‘past 10 years’ is the period 1 January 2012 – 31 December 2021.


It regards to your statement “The questions are listed in order of priority, please answer as many as possible within the allotted time”, it should be noted that under the Act we are not obliged to spend up to 18 hours on researching a request if at any point it becomes aware that the research for the request as a whole will exceed the 18 hours as permitted under the act.  If this is this case you will be advised accordingly as to what, if any, information may be provided within the time constraints of the act.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that from searches performed the information you have requested is not held by Northumbria Police.  No such crimes have been identified within the limits of our search methods as outlined below.


  • It should be noted that we do not hold information relating to a person’s faith outside of hate crimes, because of this the findings above may be inaccurate.  It does not mean that there were no crimes, only that we are not able to identify them - as we do not hold a person’s faith, outside of being explicitly stated in the crime MO or as part of a hate crime.
  • Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete.  However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes.  The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.  As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.
  • The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.
  • If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.
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