At least one former Gloriavale member has approached police, and others are considering it, after police urged for ex-members to come forward.

Julia, 22, last week spoke about being the victim of a "wrong relationship" while living in the secretive Gloriavale Christian Community when she was aged just 12 or 13. The married man was 10 years her senior.

She spoke to police today about what had happened, Campbell Live reported.

It comes after police urged former and current members of the closeted West Coast community to come forward and share their experiences, following last weeks allegations of inappropriate adult-child relationships and harsh punishments for children who disobeyed orders, including one young man who claimed to have been beaten with a pipe as a child.


Police tonight declined to confirm whether anybody had come forward following the appeal, citing victim protection. Julia did not return calls or texts from NZME. News Service.

However, it is understood others may be considering talking to police about their experiences - but a former Gloriavale resident has warned it may force the already isolated community to rally against the outside world.

Elijah Overcomer, who was banished from the community when he questioned the moral authority of the church's leader Hopeful Christian, said he would be interested in approaching the police.

"I don't know of anything like that [sexual or child abuse] going on when I was there," he said. "But obviously it would all be dealt with secretly, they wouldn't want anyone there knowing."

He would be interested in talking to officers, he said, in order to see "what stuff they want to know".

"I'd be interested in talking, but I don't think I'd want to press any charges or anything. I'd leave that to someone like Julia who's got more to press."

However, Mr Overcomer warned that any approach by police could be disastrous.

"You never know what the results are going to be. If nothing's going to be solved, then the more you stir them up in the community, the closer they'll get together.


"Even if you didn't agree with the place, you'd get together and try to work to defend yourselves."

A raid by police on the community, or going into the secluded village to question the leaders or make arrests, may only reinforce the messages the residents are told about an "evil" outside world which is persecuting them for their strong Christian beliefs, he said.

"From my experience living there, it would make things worse unless something was definitely going to happen to remove some of the leadership there or something like that.

But if nothing happens it will just make it worse there for the people.

"Anyone who's thinking of leaving wouldn't want to leave, because they'd be thinking, 'oh yeah, the world is an evil place, they're just out to destroy us'."

Tasman police district commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus made the appeal for information today.

"In light of recent allegations in the media, we would welcome the opportunity to speak to any ex-Gloriavale member about their experiences," she said.

"I understand that it might be a difficult decision to come and speak with police. Anyone who is considering approaching police should feel confident that they will be treated professionally and with empathy by staff who are trained to deal with sensitive issues."

Any information received would help police assess how to proceed, she said.

"Police do not require a complaint to act, however we do need all relevant information available to us to determine what, if any, further steps may be required," she said.

The appeal comes after a number of former members spoke to media last week, describing a tough regime where no one in the community was allowed to question the Gloriavale leadership.

Those who choose to leave are completely cut off from their family and friends on the inside, and are not permitted to contact them again, the former members claimed.

The church's leader Neville Cooper - also known as Hopeful Christian - was convicted in 1994 for indecent assault on young women, for which he served 11 months in prison.