Gloriavale faces ‘death by a thousand cuts’ as investigators circle

Gloriavale faces ‘death by a thousand cuts’ as investigators circle

| The Press | Joanne Naish |

Hundreds of people have fled Gloriavale in recent years amid disturbing revelations of physical and sexual abuse against children, and allegations of slavery. Could the reclusive religious community collapse, and what impact would that have? Joanne Naish investigates.

When Rosanna Overcomer and her family escaped from Gloriavale 11 years ago with only a tent and a car, it was to protect her children from sexual abuse.

After her husband Elijah confronted founder Hopeful Christian about sexual offending, he was berated for hours and kicked out of the only home they had ever known. Overcomer, pregnant with her fourth child, was told police would be taking her children away and the leaders sent her and the children into hiding.

She escaped and joined her husband in the outside world – a place they had been told was evil. Since then, Overcomer has made statements about sexual, physical and mental abuse at Gloriavale to the Employment Court, police, and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, which is due to release its report at the end of this month.

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