Sep 11, 2015

Gloriavale Christian Community abuse investigation continues

September 11, 2015
Sarah-Jane O'Connor

Police are still investigating allegations about the Gloriavale Christian Community but cannot comment on their progress.

The investigation into the remote West Coast group began in April after allegations made in the media about abuse.

Former members of the community have made allegations about physical punishment, brainwashing and sexual abuse of girls as young as 12.

A hotline was set up at the end of April a week after police had said they could not investigate without complaints.

A police spokeswoman said the investigation was ongoing and likely would be for "some time yet". Police have refused to give information on how many calls had been made to the hotline or the nature of any calls.

Gloriavale has been based at Lake Haupiri, inland from Greymouth, since the mid-1990s, after shifting from the original site in North Canterbury. About 500 people live in the community, including trained midwives and teachers.

It has been the centre of other recent controversies. A proposal to close the road leading to the remote property will head to the Environment Court after being given the go-ahead by the Grey District Council.

Concerns have been raised that it will block access for anglers and hunters to the Haupiri River area.

Although the community's school has met the criteria set by the Education Review Office, Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty raised concerns over the segregation of teaching.

Girls were taught cooking, sewing and childcare while boys were taught carpentry, engineering and faming. Teenagers in the community do not progress past Year 11 and do not sit external exams.

Her call to investigate the school over concerns for children's rights was turned down by a select committee last month.

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