Call for survivor evidence as Royal Commission faith investigation expanded: Methodist, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Gloriavale, Exclusive Brethren and Jehovah’s Witnesses added to scope.
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is formally extending the scope of its Anglican investigation to include the Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army faiths.
Now known as the Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation, it will also be seeking evidence from survivors of abuse in other faiths, including Gloriavale, Exclusive Brethren (more recently known as Plymouth Brethren Christian Church), and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Since the Royal Commission started, we have been gathering evidence of abuse in the care of these faiths as part of our inquiry.
The scope is being formally extended to recognise increased numbers of survivors from these faiths and their institutions – including schools and care homes – who have disclosed abuse to the Royal Commission.
We continue to ask survivors to come forward. Further evidence gathered will add to our existing evidence base and understanding of abuse in these faiths, and findings about them will be included in the Royal Commission’s Interim Faith report.
The Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army faiths engaged in care provision throughout the Royal Commission’s 1950-1999 period of inquiry.
The inclusion of Gloriavale, Exclusive Brethren and Jehovah’s Witnesses, while not overly large congregations, will mean that the Royal Commission could learn from more survivors of abuse while in care of these faiths, and examine abuse in smaller faith contexts.
The Royal Commission is exploring how people in care were abused by the institutions meant to protect them. This included physical, sexual, psychological and racist abuse.
Māori, Pacific people, Deaf and disabled and LGBTQIA+ were disproportionately affected by care systems that failed them.
Survivors of these faiths can be reassured the Royal Commission can hear from them in different ways: through face-to-face dialogue, their written accounts of abuse, through hui and fono as well as research of already disclosed abuse.
Public hearings are only a small part of the Royal Commission’s inquiry and dedicated individual public hearings will not be held for these faiths. Instead, the Royal Commission wants to continue hearing evidence privately from any survivors or witnesses of abuse in these faiths who come forward. We will call on representatives of these faiths to provide evidence as we continue our work through 2022.
Survivors of abuse in other faiths, while not specifically referenced in the scope document, are also encouraged to come forward to the Royal Commission.
Survivors who want to share about abuse by any of these faiths are encouraged to call us confidentially on 0800 222 727,or register on our website and we will phone you.
The Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation will be reported on in the Royal Commission’s Faith Interim Report, to be presented to the Governor General before June 2023.