'It's about time' people are held accountable for alleged sexual abuse - former Gloriavale member

Families who have fled Gloriavale are hoping the latest investigation will encourage residents to speak openly to authorities.

A multi-agency investigation is into its third day at the isolated West Coast Christian community.

Police and Oranga Tamariki returned from Gloriavale on Wednesday, as an investigation continues into a range of alleged offences. 

Newshub understands that among them are allegations of sexual abuse. 

It's something that former members allege has been happening for decades.

"Abuse that happened to me as a child and again as a young teenager," former member Rosanna Overcomer tells Newshub.

Overcomer fled Gloriavale with her husband and three young children eight years ago.

"I did lodge a complaint to the leader before I left but I did lodge a complaint with police."

But she says it went no further. 

"Too hard… too complex…"

Seeing Police and Oranga Tamariki descend on the isolated property gives her hope. 

"It's about time some people are held accountable," she says.

Melody Pilgrim is a recent refugee, and left Gloriavale just over a year ago.

The current investigation is reinforcing her reason to flee.

"I didn't feel it was safe for my girls any longer," she says. 

"This issue of abuse, I could see it wasn't being handled to protect victims."

Melody's four daughters are aged seven to 11.

When she heard of the latest investigation, she felt grateful she'd got her girls out, but also a deep sorrow.

"Then I felt really angry… This could have been dealt with 40 years ago."

Melody says she'd seen residents silenced by fear, and that speaking to authorities was a betrayal to Gloriavale.

"What I saw was that the reputation was more important for Gloriavale than the safety of children."

Police expect their inquiries to conclude at the end of the week.