Jesus Army in Northampton: More than 100 claimants as compensation scheme reaches one-year milestone
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More than 100 claimants have come forward as part of a Jesus Army compensation scheme in just one year.
In September 2022, a long-awaited compensation scheme was launched by Lime Solicitors for survivors of abuse within the now-defunct religious sect - Jesus Army.
Tuesday (September 26) will mark one year since the launch of the scheme. Within that year, lawyer Malcolm Johnson has represented 140 claimants, with 25 claims settled so far.
Philippa Barnes, media lead of the Jesus Fellowship Survivors Association, said: “This scheme has been the culmination of a long journey for many of us, and I’m incredibly proud of the achievements of the survivors who made this possible.
“Some effort is being made to redress the balance of power in this instance.
“With the scheme now a year old, we are running out of time to ensure those impacted by the Jesus Army, especially those who were children, have the opportunity to apply to the scheme.
“It is not going to please everyone however, I believe it is important to have abuse acknowledged and compensated.”
Malcolm Johnson, head of abuse claims at Lime Solicitors, added: “All too often powerful individuals and institutions feel that they can act with impunity, and without consequences.
“This first of a kind compensation scheme shows what can be achieved when victims stand up and make their voices heard.
“However, there is still more work to be done. With the deadline on the horizon, people are running out of time to come forward, and ensure that their experiences are recognised.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible to come forward to receive further information and advice.”
Main features of the Jesus Army compensation scheme
- A written apology acknowledging what has happened to survivors, providing acceptance of responsibility and an assurance that lessons of the past have been learned and shared with relevant authorities
- For sexual, physical or emotional abuse, an award of compensation for the harm a survivor has suffered, aligned with common law compensation awards
- For sexual, physical or emotional abuse, an invitation to meet with a trustee of the church closing team
- A dedicated support fund for individual grants towards counselling
- Compensation will be awarded according to the severity of the abuse suffered. Typically, court-awarded payments for the “pain, suffering and loss of amenity” element of abuse range up to £120,000.
The scheme is open to anyone who suffered sexual, physical, or emotional abuse in the Jesus Fellowship. There are also schemes available for individuals who have experienced other negative experiences due to the Church, including individuals who meet the broad criteria for community adverse experiences, either as a child or adult.
The deadline for applying to the scheme is December 31, 2023. If you were affected by the Jesus Army, email [email protected], call 0207 264 4352.
What was the Jesus Army?
Originally set up by founder Noel Stanton in Bugbrooke in 1969, the Jesus Army was a cult-like religious movement, which attracted thousands of members who lived together in close-knit, rural communes. Mr Stanton remained at the helm of the organisation until 2009 when he died.
However, in 2017 the new leader Mick Haines said, in a speech, he had become aware of “serious allegations” about Mr Stanton including “financial abuse of individuals and spiritual and sexual abuse”.
More allegations of financial, emotional, physical and sexual abuse from both children and adults have surfaced. In 2019 Chronicle & Echo reported some 200 claims had been made, mostly by those who had lived and worked in one of the dozens of communal houses operated by the sect around the country.
A number of people have been convicted of carrying out abuse at the Jesus Fellowship Church, which has since issued an apology.