Released On 27th Sep 2022
Jesus Army Redress Scheme is launched
The Jesus Army Redress Scheme
The Jesus Army was an ultra evangelical religious cult that originated in Northamptonshire in the 1970s. It was founded by Noel Stanton and assisted by Ian Callard, John Campbell, Mike Farrant, Huw Lewis and Mick Haines who became the sect's principal leader after the death of Noel Stanton in 2009.
Founded in a small chapel in the Northamptonshire village of Bugbrooke, the cult attracted thousands of members. It offered the promise of a `new creation' to a vast range of followers from the devout Christians to the homeless and vulnerable, many of whom lived together in close-knit, rural communes. Members were forced to work on the church's farms or businesses and were pressurised to hand over their money and possessions. The Jesus Army went into the cities in buses to recruit new members, and by the late 70’s the organisation was a multi-million-pound business.
However, for many of the members they endured routine bullying, forced labour on the farms and a dreadful regime in which children were severely disciplined and forced to sit through long worship sessions involving speaking in tongues and exorcisms, whilst women were regarded as subservient to men and treated as "domestic servants". Contact with the outside world was forbidden as were toys, TV and Christmas and birthdays.
Sexual and physical abuse was rife and the practice of victim blaming and shaming, protecting disgraced leaders, reinstating convicted paedophiles and ignoring complaints meant the perpetrators could carry on with impunity. Gradually complaints emerged and after Noel Stanton’s death in 2009, the Church handed over details of sexual offences against Mr Stanton and others to the police.
In 2017 the five senior leaders known as the Apostolic Group were asked to step down, pending an inquiry into the cover-up of abuse allegations. Subsequently all five surviving leaders of the Jesus Army were found to have colluded with sexual offenders through their inept handling of complaints. In 2019 further allegations of abuse on a "prolific scale" were exposed including rapes, "brainwashing" and the brutal or sexualised beating of young children by groups of men. Forty-three people who were active in the Church have been named as alleged perpetrators, including founder and firebrand, Noel Stanton. To date ten people from the church have been convicted of sex offences.
Eligibility under the Redress Scheme
Following the dissolution of the Jesus Army the Jesus Fellowship Community Trust was set up to organise and manage a compensation scheme for survivors of brutality in the Jesus Army. The full redress scheme has been published and can be viewed on https://www.jesus.org.uk/jesus-fellowship-redress-scheme-launch
The Redress Scheme is made up of 3 types of compensation payment: -
1. The Individual Redress Payment Scheme
a. Any person who can establish they are or were a Member or a Dependant of a Member family in the Church or Community; AND
b. There is evidence to show that on the balance of probabilities they suffered:-
- Emotional Abuse; and/or
- Physical Abuse; and/or
- Sexual Abuse; and Recognised Psychiatric Injury.
c. The abuse was committed, by a person at that time engaged in the leadership, or operation of the Church and/or Community;
d. The abuse was committed by an individual invited to stay in a Shared Property by a Member in the circumstances where there were inadequate safeguarding measures in place.
Applicants meeting the above criteria will be entitled to:-
1. An award of compensation for the harm or injury suffered
2. A written apology
3. An invitation to meet with an Independent Trustee of the JFCT
4. Payment of your legal fees.
2. Community Adverse Experience Scheme
If you meet the criteria for Community Adverse Experience as an adult and/or child in Community, you may be entitled to:
i. An individual cash Support Grant towards counselling, training or other support.
ii. A written Apology and acceptance of responsibility by the Jesus Fellowship.
iii. Return of outstanding Capital Contributions for previous Trust Members.
3. Other Scheme Claims
The Jesus Fellowship Community Trust will seek to address legal claims relating to the loss of employment, National Insurance contributions, pension loss and retirement benefits.
The Roll Out of the Redress Scheme
The Jesus Fellowship Redress Scheme is open for applications between 26th September 2022 and 31st December 2023.
Compensation under the Individual Redress Payment Scheme
The Scheme sets out different Tariffs and bandings. Payments range depending on the period and nature of the abuse as follows:-
Excessive Corporal Punishment £2000 - £4000
Emotional Abuse £2,000
Physical Abuse £7,500
Indecent assault over clothing £4,000
Indecent assault under clothing £7,500
Forced Masturbation £15,000
Digital Penetration £20,000
Oral Sex £25,000
Psychiatric Injury From £1500
Instructing a Solicitor
The Scheme is clear that that all applicants are advised to instruct a solicitor to support them through the Individual Redress Payment Scheme process.
At Robsonshaw we will:-
1. Help you complete the application form; and
2. Give independent legal advice;
3. Explain all the options if an offer of payment is made and negotiate the offer to ensure you receive the compensation due to you.
If you are offered a payment and want to accept it, you will be asked to sign a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement is a legal document. It has important consequences on your rights to raise or continue civil court action related to your abuse. We will be able to advise you on the terms of the settlement agreement.
The Scheme will pay your legal fees to a maximum of £2,500 plus VAT. At Robsonshaw we will conduct your case on a no win no fee basis and we will not charge you a success fee. Please be aware some solicitors will not offer this arrangement and may charge you a success fee, or seek a recovery from your compensation for any shortfall in your legal fees.
The way ahead
For more information, please call Robert Shaw on 01392 345332 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org for a no obligation and free discussion about your claim. Robert has previously represented numerous survivors of sexual and physical abuse suffered whilst they were members of the Jesus Army. He already has a wealth of expertise about the Jesus Army and is fully aware of the terrible suffering some of the members endured. Robert knows that no amount of compensation can right the wrongs of those who endured mistreatment and sexual abuse within the Jesus Army, but he can ensure that you receive the appropriate level of compensation within the Scheme for the abuse that you suffered.