‘Need to be heard’: alleged abuse survivors say Kenja must be forced to join Australia’s redress scheme

11 months ago 163

Annette Stephens abandoned her children. Michelle Ring says she was fixed antiseptic lollies truthful she didn’t get a rima corruption aft being sexually abused arsenic a child. A begetter says his teenage girl alleged abuse, and that she and others merit to beryllium heard.

Another idiosyncratic who says they person a wealthiness of cognition astir Kenja Communications says they are excessively acrophobic to talk publically astir it.

Kenja is present the lone organisation inactive refusing to articulation the redress strategy acceptable up successful the aftermath of the royal committee into organization responses to kid intersexual abuse. The strategy was acceptable up successful 2018 to clasp institutions accountable for abuse, and to assistance survivors get fiscal compensation and an apology oregon “direct idiosyncratic response”.

Kenja has been operating for decades, has ever denied intersexual maltreatment allegations levelled astatine its laminitis and denies accusations it is simply a cult. Kenja has described itself arsenic a non-religious idiosyncratic improvement organisation. There person been aggregate allegations astir kid enactment maltreatment by its now-deceased founder, Ken Dyers – whom the police person referred to arsenic a “cult leader”.

In 2007, Dyers was facing 22 charges of intersexual assault relating to alleged assaults connected 2 underage girls during Kenja counselling sessions, but was deemed unfit for trial. He took his ain beingness aft being made alert that a 3rd complainant had made further allegations of intersexual abuse.

Dyers’ partner, Jan Hamilton, inactive runs the radical that was named by combining the archetypal letters of their names. It is based successful Sydney, with smaller offices successful Melbourne and Canberra. No allegations of intersexual maltreatment person been made against Hamilton herself.

Stephens says she was “fragile” erstwhile she became progressive with Kenja successful 1982. “I was successful a truly atrocious way,” she says. So erstwhile a person suggested she travel on to a seminar, she went. Kenja says it offers “spiritual knowing successful a carnal world” done “energy conversion meditation”.

Stephens was “hooked”, she says.

She gave up her location and her children, and went connected to go a person successful the organisation.

But arsenic the stories mounted from girls who were allegedly abused by Dyers, she says, her content collapsed. Now, years later, she has rebuilt her relationships with her children, and writes letters to her great-grandchildren astir the beingness lessons she has learned.

She says the connection “closure” is excessively vague. What she wants is for alleged victims to beryllium heard, their symptom recognised, and for Kenja to beryllium pulled into the redress scheme.

‘This organisation is bad’

This period a parliamentary committee inquiry into the redress scheme’s rollout heard much allegations against Kenja.

The national authorities has utilized what levers it can to get recalcitrant organisations to articulation the scheme. They are present named online, cannot person authorities grants and volition suffer charitable taxation exemptions. None of these moves has prompted Kenja to travel forward, and nether the existent authorities it is capable to refuse.

Stephens says it should “absolutely” beryllium forced to instrumentality part. Others echo that call, including Michelle Ring, who spoke to the enquiry past week.

Under parliamentary privilege, Ring told the inquiry she was “a subsister of organization intersexual kid abuse”.

“I americium 51 years aged and a azygous mum of four. I was groomed and emotionally abused by Jan Hamilton, and sexually, emotionally and physically abused by Ken Dyers for 7 years whilst successful Kenja,” she told the committee.

“There were galore adults who knew of and/or witnessed my abuse. There are galore children conscionable similar maine who present request to beryllium heard and believed earlier we commencement to heal.”

Ring told the committee Hamilton drove her “in her achromatic VW to Ken”.

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Photograph: Tim Robberts/Stone RF

“She gave maine antiseptic lollies aft each league … truthful I wouldn’t get infections successful my rima from his abuse,” she said.

“There are galore who person the aforesaid story.”

Ring wants the instrumentality changed truthful the authorities is the “unconditional funder of past resort”, and to guarantee determination are consequences for abusers.

Ring told the enquiry the civilization successful Kenja was 1 of “complete control”. While different organisations that are portion of the redress strategy whitethorn person been “honest organisations who had atrocious people”, she said, “this organisation is bad”.

Kenja told the Guardian Hamilton had “previously, publicly, vigorously denied the allegations made by Ms Ring … arsenic wholly baseless and shameful” and referred to statements connected its website.

In a separate, earlier connection Kenja said it rejected “any assertion that intersexual maltreatment of children has ever taken spot astatine this organisation” and that it opposed “all quality degradation including intersexual abuse”.

In a effect to the enquiry published connected Monday, the authorities conceded determination were problems with the scheme. The authorities said it would summation its ain backing wherever an organisation is “defunct”. However, “this connection does not screen existing institutions that person the capableness to articulation but take not to,” it said.

Kenja says connected its website it acknowledges “the captious imperatives down the National Redress Scheme” but “we bash not see it due that we articulation successful circumstances wherever genuine claims against america bash not exist. Accordingly, Kenja volition not beryllium cajoled oregon threatened into joining the Scheme.”

The begetter who says his girl was allegedly molested astatine Kenja says the redress strategy is meant to beryllium an accidental for radical to travel guardant to beryllium heard.

“Many are traumatised, and person taken a sizeable play of clip to talk up. The authorities should … let these girls, and the remainder who volition nary uncertainty travel guardant erstwhile it is harmless to bash so, to decently convey their feelings and statesman the process of healing,” helium says.

Crisis enactment services tin beryllium reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78; Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636; 1800-RESPECT connected 1800 737 732.