Letter to Workers From Friends in NZ

pdf file for download

2 August 2012

To All New Zealand workers

For some time, friends in New Zealand and other countries have been concerned about sexual immorality and in particular child sexual abuse (CSA), amongst the workers and friends. This includes male-male, male-female, and female –female interaction. A number of cases have become well known, including in Scotland, England, Australia, USA, South Africa and New Zealand. Some are relatively recent, and others date back many years but have become exposed recently due to the long lasting harm that has been caused, especially where the occurrence hasn’t been acknowledged or dealt with properly. The attitude of society and enforcement agencies has changed in recent years so it is no longer acceptable to deal with such matters privately. For example, charges were laid against the Michigan overseer because a CSA case there wasn’t reported to the appropriate authorities.

We are sure that these matters are abhorrent to you also, so this letter is written to support your efforts to care for the fellowship.

It is important that sister workers as well as brothers are given information and guidance on these matters as females have been involved in reported cases of sexual immorality and CSA, either as victims or alleged perpetrators. We believe that the sister workers have the same capacity as the brothers to help overcome this grievous harm that is amongst us.

In the recent special meetings Graham Thompson spoke regarding CSA that has occurred in our fellowship and clearly specified the manner in which any cases should be handled according to the teachings of the Bible. His comments have been widely circulated and received positive responses from throughout the world. Thus we have attached a copy of the notes of that meeting so that all NZ workers can be acquainted with what was said there and can then be more prepared to deal appropriately with any victims or perpetrators of CSA.

Some guidelines have been drawn up by some of the friends with the assistance of experts in the field of CSA. They are available at https://sites.google.com/site/csacodeofconduct/

The implementation and ongoing use of the principles, guidelines and resources is intended to:

  • Reduce the potential for child sexual abuse (CSA);
  • Establish accepted processes for use in the instance of child sexual abuse allegations;
  • Reduce the potential for CSA allegations against workers; and
  • Promote cooperative relationships with, and attitudes toward, law enforcement agencies including the criminal justice and child protection systems

We have attached an email which has been circulated in Australia, reflecting the concerns there regarding how CSA cases have been handled, and noting the Government Enquiry into criminal abuse of children. The same concerns exist in New Zealand. In addition we have included a personal story from some friends in NT, Australia, which illustrates the lifelong harm which is worsened when the issues aren’t dealt with properly.
Although many are reluctant to publicise these issues, it has become necessary so that any cases are dealt with properly, and perhaps potential future cases might be avoided if potential perpetrators are fully aware that they will not be sheltered, their crimes will not be hidden, and that they will face the full impact of the law regarding such crimes. This is being sent to you with love and respect for your sacrifice and service.

**Some Auckland friends**

Graham Thompson Sermon from Auckland Special Meetings – June 2012
Email sent to a lot of workers and friends in Australia – May 2012
Letter issued by Col Watkins, NT, Australia – 23 June 2012

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