A church in New Zealand has called for an independent inquiry into the treatment of abused children, after an investigation revealed a number of incidents involving the abuse of children.
Key points:The church is now seeking to set up an independent reviewThe church’s director is calling for an inquiry into its handling of abuse victimsThe church, which is based in the town of Tauranga, is in the process of setting up an inquiry to examine the treatment and response of abuse survivors, its director said.
The Church of the Nazarene has written to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) seeking an independent report into how the church was dealing with the abuse and what measures were being taken to protect the children.
Its director, Reverend Mike O’Neill, said the church had suffered an “unimaginable” loss of faith and respect.
“The loss of our faith and the loss of the trust that we had in the authorities to provide that trust, has been a great deal,” he said.
“We have a very large and growing congregation, many thousands of people, who come to us for services.”
The church has been working with the ministry to set a timeline for a public inquiry, he said, and the investigation was now seeking the support of the church.
“This is a very important time for the church and it is a time when it is necessary for us to make a statement,” Mr O’Neil said.
“We don’t want to put any pressure on our own congregation, but we want to be as open as possible.”
He said the congregation had been told it was only able to receive an independent commission if it could meet specific criteria.
“As a church, we are a secular organisation and we have no special interest in the lives of people.
We are not religious, but if there is a belief that there should be a commission to investigate our affairs, then that is what we will do,” he explained.
Mr O’Niall said the community had come together in the face of the “disastrous” loss.
“Many people, many people have come forward with their stories of what has happened to them and we are all trying to understand how we have lost faith in the state and in the police,” he added.
The church was founded in the early 1970s by a priest, and is based on the former home of the Salvation Army, which closed in 1986.
It has since been taken over by the church, and it now has about 200 members.
It was also named after former prime minister John Key, who was also a former member.