Lawyers head south for Gloriavale, Christian community already under double investigation

Gloriavale Leavers Support Trust director Liz Gregory said on Thursday she had received a pledge from the Royal Commission on Abuse and Faith-Based Care that she was sending lawyers to Canterbury in April to speak to those who had left Gloriavale .

Confirmation of visit to Canterbury – where many of those who have left the West Coast Christian community are now based – comes as the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care speeds up its report on redress for two years.

Since February 2018, some 1,900 survivors of abuse in state and faith-based care have shared their experiences with the five-year Royal Commission. It is believed that between 100,000 and 250,000 children were abused during their care between 1950 and 1999, a period on which the Royal Commission focuses.

An interim report released in December spoke of young people forced to undergo electroconvulsive therapy without anesthesia, facing long stays in solitary confinement, being trapped in physical restraints and subjected to sexual assault, rape, inappropriate strip searches and vaginal exams.

Police confirmed Thursday that their investigation – dubbed Operation Minneapolis – into “Gloriavale-related cases” was ongoing. Three people have already been charged in connection with the investigation.

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The Teaching Council confirmed in December that it was investigating former Gloriavale school principal Faithful Pilgrim, who allegedly failed to ensure the safety and well-being of students, including a 9-year-old. years old sexually touched by a teacher.

02072020 News photo Alden Williams / Stuff Gloriavale <a class=Christian Community, Thursday morning. Photo taken from Haupiri Rd. ” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

Alden Williams / Stuff

02072020 News photo Alden Williams / Stuff Gloriavale Christian Community, Thursday morning. Photo taken from Haupiri Rd.

On Thursday, Gregory said the emotional and psychological abuse of children at Gloriavale was regularly described by survivors.

“It is widely known in the public arena that there are serious issues surrounding sexual abuse, which has been going on for decades.”

Justice Coral Shaw, Chair of the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care.

Tom Lee / Stuff

Justice Coral Shaw, Chair of the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care.

The news that the lawyers were flying to Christchurch meant that the victims of Gloriavale were one step closer to having their own investigation – within the Royal Commission but focused specifically on them. His group had between 250 and 300 former Gloriavale residents on their mailing list.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Commission confirmed that Gloriavale was already part of its larger investigation.

“We will continue to hear from survivors who were abused there. We have yet to determine whether Gloriavale will be a specific investigation or case study and we cannot comment on who we meet or who we get information / evidence from, ”she said.

A person who answered the phone to Gloriavale on Thursday said the community was “not interested” in commenting Thing.

Thing revealed earlier that the community’s sexual assault policy gave offenders ‘second and third chances’ to stop offending – plus more rounds of forgiveness and repentance meetings if they didn’t stop – before the leaders consider expelling them from the community.

The Royal Commission confirmed Thursday that public interest in redressing all the findings – in state and faith-based care – was high enough that it postponed the release of a 2023 redress report until the end of 2021.

He did not provide reparation himself but reported on the adequacy of past and current reparation processes by state and faith-based institutions.

This could include financial redress, but also counseling, rehabilitation and other services. This could mean holding perpetrators to account, including through criminal proceedings, obtaining an apology and preventing further abuse.

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