PBCC RESPONSE to NZ Sunday Star Times – 24.04.16
Sunday Star Times article based on ‘unscientific’ discredited study
This morning’s article in the Sunday Star Times – ‘Former Brethren allege high rate of abuse in NZ’ – relies on discredited research dismissed by leading UK academics as “unscientific” and “a witch-hunt under the guise of scientific research”.
The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (previously known as the Exclusive Brethren) considers any abuse by any member of society abhorrent, which it takes very seriously.
However, psychologist Jill Mytton’s allegations are untrue and her research has been dismissed as highly flawed by three distinguished independent academics.
Reports were commissioned by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC) from Dr K.V. Petrides (Reader in Psychology and Psychometrics, University College London); Professor Adrian Furnham (Professor of Psychology, also at UCL) and Professor Jane Hutton (Professor in Medical Statistics, University of Warwick).
Dr Petrides described Ms Mytton’s recruitment methodology as “unscientific”; Prof Furnham described Ms Mytton’s research as a “disinterested enquiry: it sounds like a witch-hunt under the guise of scientific research”.
Prof Hutton said: “I do not think the quality of the study, or studies, which Ms Mytton has carried out is likely to be adequate to support any conclusions [about child sex abuse] with regard to members, or former members, of the Exclusive Brethren”.
Mytton’s research is based on just a 0.03% of the church members in NZ and relies on a sample of respondents skewed by self-selection.
While the PBCC rejects any allegations based on Ms Mytton’s flawed research, the Church joins in the broader community’s abhorrence for child sexual abuse.
Any suggestion that the Church’s teachings are out of step with society or a factor in child sexual abuse or other crimes is misinformed and plainly wrong. The Church places enormous value on the safe and healthy development of children. PBCC schools are entirely staffed by non-Brethren teachers of various secular and religious backgrounds who operate under strict protocols requiring any reports of alleged sexual abuse to be passed onto relevant authorities. They are subject to the same child safety and reporting standards as other state, religious and independent schools and work closely with child safety authorities to ensure the safety of our children.
Abiding by the law is a moral imperative for all members of the Church and a central tenet of the way in which we practise our faith. Church members are taught to be law abiding and to report any illegalities to the authorities. It is Church policy not to comment publically on individual situations of current or former members of the Church. However, the Church must reserve the right to correct misinformation or defamatory allegations, but as a rule, will not comment on individual situations.
© Copyright Plymouth Brethren (Exclusive Brethren) Christian Church Ltd 2016