Following last months brutal campsite rape of a 5 year old Belgian girl in Turangi Dr Kim McGregor, Executive Director of Rape Prevention Education has written an open letter to John Key.
Dr McGregor calls for a Task-force on Action on Sexual Violence to be set-up in New Zealand and cites some horrendous child abuse figures.
Far from being a great place to raise kids, the high level of sexual violence in New Zealand impacts 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys under the age of 16 years. For more about the significant problems of raising children in New Zealand please see our Education and Childrens Issues facts page.
“Dear Prime Minister,
To most New Zealanders the brutal sexual assault of the sleeping 5 year old girl in Turangi just before Christmas was a shocking and shameful incident.
Prime Minister, I really hope that this incident will provide the catalyst needed for your government to begin to implement the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence (TASV) report recommendations given to your government in July 2009.
When referring to the taskforce report, the previous Minister of Justice, Simon Power, stated that, our sector represented by Te Ohaakii a Hine National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together (TOAH NNEST), “as a part of the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence, is responsible for the most comprehensive roadmap on sexual violence prevention and services that any Government has ever received”. He also said “and now what you need is an assurance that the Government not only backs your work, but is prepared to pay for it”. (Speech April 2010)
As you will be aware, few of the taskforce recommendations have been implemented and rather than your government resourcing our specialist services, our sector’s capacity to prevent and deal with the high levels of sexual violence in our country has been diminished in the last two years – especially since the withdrawal of $6 million per annum of counselling support (from $10.6 million in 2007/2008 to $4.5 million in 2010/2011 see OIA attached).
Prime Minister, as you will be aware, every community in New Zealand has people who perpetrate sexually harmful behaviours as well as people who have experienced sexual violence. You will also know that such sexual violence is preventable.
Lessons need to be learned from the appalling incident in Turangi, so that we as a nation can join together to protect other children from the sexual violence that currently impacts approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys under the age of 16 years in this country.
Although rarely by a stranger, every year a few of these thousands of children throughout the country will experience one-off brutal incidents similar to the one reported in Turangi. Others will experience regular sexual violations that may be repeated over months or even years. What vary are the victims’ ages and the relationship of the offender to the child.
While most on-going experiences of sexual violence are less outwardly brutal, they are still likely to be traumatic and have long-term negative health and social impacts.
Without intervention and specialist support, child sexual violence is potentially life-threatening. Common on-going effects of child sexual violence can include a lifetime of anxiety, and serious depressions that can develop into harmful behaviours towards the self and/or others.
Mostly there are no witnesses to child sexual violence that happens every day in our country – usually behind closed doors within the child’s home or community.
Commonly the child is prevented from speaking of the crime for a variety of reasons including that the child is groomed to feel they are to blame, is threatened, or, the sex offender is someone close to the child or is a valued member of the child’s community.
If child-victims do ever speak about sexual violence, often it is not until they are adults. This is sometimes when they first look for counselling help.
Many of those who commit sexually harmful behaviours begin with concerning sexualised behaviours in childhood. While some of these behaviours will stop in childhood, without early detection and intervention, by teenage years or early twenties, some of these behaviours may have escalated and become entrenched, impacting many child and/or adult victims – sometimes over many years. A few offenders will also commit brutal attacks similar to the assault committed in Turangi.
Prime Minister, what is required to prevent sexual violence is the increased resourcing that Minister Power referred to and also leadership that extends beyond elections and the term of a single Minister. To keep our children safe, our communities need a government and a specialist sector joined together in a determined effort and sustained over many years.
Please help us by providing the leadership necessary to establish an on-going forum or process so that government Ministers and relevant Ministries can continue to work with our specialist TOAH NNEST sector to make children in this country safe from sexual violence.
There are some simple and achievable actions your government can take immediately. These recommendations were given to your government in the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence report in July 2009 (see the Ministry of Justice website). Key actions include, please:
reinstate the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence that for the first time ever in our country provided leadership through a joint government partnership with specialist Maori and Tauiwi sector representatives.
Two years of the Taskforce (2007-2009) was not enough. We had only just begun the huge amount of work required to make our communities safe from sexual violence;
approve and resource the first ever National Sexual Violence Prevention Plan that was developed over the two years of the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence.
It is unclear why the National Sexual Violence Prevention Plan was scrapped before it was to be approved by Cabinet in 2010. This Plan would have been the first of its kind in New Zealand and would have helped us catch-up to many other countries whose governments have taken an active leadership role in sexual violence prevention; and
provide realistic and sustained funding to our poorly resourced TOAH NNEST specialist sexual violence prevention and intervention frontline services that include early intervention programmes for children with concerning sexualised behaviour.
Our early intervention programmes offer the best hope of identifying early, children who are at risk of later sexual offending, and intervening to prevent this occurring. There are hundreds of children and youths and their families throughout the country who want and need our early interventions that will help to stop further sexual violations. While we have excellent specialist community treatment services throughout the country, these services are currently insufficiently resourced to help increase the safety in all of our communities.
Our TOAH NNEST support services aim to provide every area in New Zealand with specialist child, youth and adult, forensic, medical and psychological early intervention support services, on-going phone and face-to-face individual, and family counselling, criminal justice support services and, where possible, specialist family reintegration and restorative justice services.
Sexual violence against children in New Zealand happens on a daily basis and affects approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys under the age of 16 years.
Sexual violence is preventable.
To avoid further sexual attacks on our children I implore you to:
implement the recommendations in the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence report
reinstate the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence
approve and resource the drafted National Sexual Violence Prevention Plan.”
replace the $6 million saved from cuts to our services, and
provide our services with realistic and sustainable funding so that we can provide New Zealanders with the specialist services they need to work to prevent and deal with the huge levels of sexual violence that every community in the country deals with every day.
Sexual violence is a complex social issue. It is hugely costly to survivors of sexual violence, their families, and communities, and the taxpayer. It is by far the most costly crime per incident. Treasury estimated that sexual violence directly cost the economy $1.2 billion in 2003-2004, and the cost now could be as high as $7.5 billion per year.
Our frontline services aim to provide those affected by sexual violence with vital, and often life-saving, early and on-going support, for the years that it often takes to deal with the trauma that follows.
Every community should have access to our wrap-around specialist sexual violence support services including our prevention, early intervention, on-going counselling and court support services, specifically tailored to meet the needs of children, youth, adults and their families.
For background to this story read our Turangi Campsite Attack posts.
The Sunday Star times reported today that the 16 year old youth, who admitted he’d raped and beaten the five year old Belgian girl at Camp Habitat in Turangi, has “gang connections” and that the family are “rotten apples” The youth may also have committed the crime as part of a gang initiation process.
The Star-Times understands the teen’s father had been associated with the gang, but not since the attack, which shocked New Zealand in the lead-up to Christmas. The boy’s father cannot be named for legal reasons.
The claims were made by several sources close to the investigation.
The family and the boy are connected to a gang,” one said. “The family is gang-associated. It’s not just the father.”
Another source said: “The family are well-recognised as being what they are … rotten apples. Where are you heading in society when you have this underbelly?”…
…The Star-Times has been shown a photo that shows him posing, shirtless, with a gang nickname and an anti-police slogan clearly visible.”
Presumably that is the same photograph that appears on the public Facebook page of a youth with the same name as the alleged offender. It shows him wild-eyed and bare-chested, his nose and lower face marked with a pen drawn moko, and with the words “Killah” “FTP” (fuck the police) and “Wat Up Naaw” written in rough script across the image. Other pictures on his scant public profile show him involved with a cultural group of young people. The Whaleoil blog has published a blurred faced version of the “Killah” image.
We already know that Turangi locals said that the Mongrel Mob was out in force on the night that the girl was attacked as she lay sleeping in her holiday caravan. We also know that members of the Notorious Chapter of the Mongrel Mob have been involved in the Salvation Army’s residential Hauora treatment programme (for P addicts) which had been held at the holiday camp.
The Star’s news has been discussed on the Trade Me forum, a local New Zealand chat board. These are some of the things that Kiwis are saying about it and about the wider problem of organised gangs in New Zealand, one person calls them “urban terrorists“, another despairs that New Zealand is no longer a good place to raise children (additional thread link)
Warning: Some of these comments contain graphic descriptions of gang outrages and alleged injuries that were inflicted on the 5 year old Belgian girl. Discretion is advised.
- so good of the s.s.t to tell us what we already figured out.
- If the govt can swiftly pass an act concerning Piracy, why can’t they pass an act making Gangs illegal as they did in Holland and Germany.
- the gangs are alive and well in this country,and run a lot of the towns,i know because my dad was an ex angel……..gangs are not nice people and have more going on inside of them than naive people think they know…….his mates used to visit him up until a couple of yours ago and no they werent clean living honest people at all. but i also thought the teen who raped the 5 year old would not be right in the head anyway,he would have a tendancy towards children and pedophilia
- The bastard who did this to the 5 year old should be shot. He apparently shattered her pelvis, bit off bits of her face, lips and ears and broke 5 teeth.
- I wish they could eradicate the whole family. My Aunty was the victim of a Gang initiation by two 16 year olds and two 18 year olds. She was brutally raped and murdered and left in an Orchard. She left behind two of her own children and two adopted children. The 16yr olds were out in 18 months. My family and I will always hate gangs, it doesn’t matter which one, they’re all just as evil as each other.
- As soon as the Hells Angels step foot in this country the Police eradicate them/ Yet our home gangs go untouched. Every week 3-5 young women are tortured and raped. These may also be gang connected but, until people begin to see the gangs in this country for what they really are and how many in the government kowtow to them, it will continue. We need to open our eyes and say enough!
- The guys I know who are sent to low security prisons pretty much have to join a gang as soon as they get inside, or be intimidated. And then do what the gang wants. So a young man already looking at being recruited would readily be taken under their wing. None of them enjoy their time in jail, but life outside is often as violent as inside, so no real difference. They just can’t do exactly what they want inside.
- The bigger gangs such as Hells Angles run our gangs. it is where they source a lot of there drugs, business assoiciates and finance from. I have seen minutes from gang meetings and exersice books full of business figures and i can tell you the general public don’t know the half of it and probably just as well. Gangs have lawyers, Accountants, pharmacists etc as active members of these gangs. I have never seen hard proof of a police officer currently as an memeber of a gang but i have certainly met ones that have been. But anyway when you see the gangs family trees they all stem back to the larger overseas gangs such as the Triads and hells angles etc. when we see gangs such as the mongrel mob we see patches and unruly thugs, but never see the the very clean living non tattoed well educated middle man or the well to do white collar suit and tie businesman higher up the chain, the shakers and movers..
- I recall that the police were originally reported as saying that there were were NO gang connections. Did the police lie? In any case, some good can come out of this. Any gang that is involved in violence can be made a banned organisation. It would then be an offence to wear gang clothing/patch, or to associate with each other.
- I think it’s about time to treat these gang members as terrorists, as that’s what they are…urban terrorists. People shouldn’t have to live in fear around them and have innocent people get caught up in their fights with each other.
- what saddens me is the attitude of the mid teenagers towards pregnancy etc. the kids i have contact with have the attitude that the girl shouldn’t have “let herself” get pregnant and its considered by the boys who dump them and carry rabbiting everywhere…
- Yeah my daughters had so many friends end up preggers in the last year its ridiculous… Just so glad she has her head screwed on and is more worried about having a life and a career first.
- the reason there are so many child murders and terrible things happening here is because we have growing number of feral people living in NZ with little or no education,who are continuing to breed,they claim claim benefits after benefits as the system enables them to do so……….but nothing is ever done about it,it will continue to get worse until something is done…….its too easy to get a DPB…and these feral women are doing so.
- “The maximum for rape is 20 years, yet the average sentence is just 8 years” Quote from The Law and Order Referendum.
- Well I said in the other thread that it would be a prospect earning his patch, and I’m right sadly. For all the people thinking that gang members have some type of standard, and raping children is too low does the name Delcelia Whittaker ring any bells at all??? Do any of you remember her stepfather (mongrel mob) boasting about carrying her around upside down like a 6 pack?? a finger in each…well you get the drift. Nothing is too low, too low is celebrated. He will be looked after in jail and receive his patch when he gets out.
this link has heaps of quotes from off this message board on it already lol http://emigratetonewzealand.wordpress.com/
- Well, it’s a fact now, that we are really starting to get a bad name internationally for violenet crime, rape & murder. That’s really very very sad…..
- A friend of mine, who lived in the country many years ago, was outside in the garden with her children when some gang members walked up the drive-way with a petrol can. She thought they were going to ask for petrol but instead they grabbed her and began to rape her. The oldest child quietly took the others inside and dressed them in their pjamas and watched out the window helplessly while his mother was gang raped. The mother was so traumatised she never told her husband or GP for over a year. The child who had watched was also traumatised and he was affected emotionally for many years to come until it was found out that he had seen everything that had been done to his mother.
- it’s not the first time either, we’ve got a reputation of doing this to tourists, remember the other caravan attack on the female of the 2, down by the river part of a camping. I am seriously thinking it’s not good to raise children in NZ anymore. If I am going to have grandchildren, maybe it’s good they come to NZ for a holiday instead with their parents, but LOCK their tents and caravans. I really don’t see NZ’s state of law and order getting any better, sad to say. ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
One particular comment caught our eye, something about the way in which the youth was taken into custody
And to “negotiate” the arrest of this young offender is a new low.. cultural sensitivity maybe ??
I want to hear of doors being busted in, and family members sitting on the floor with their hands on their heads while Police guns are pointed at them as other officers search for the low life….
Now that we know that the family is alleged to be a bad apples and to have gang affiliations, that gives a possible reason for the police’s softly softly approach. Was it to avoid violent conflict with armed gang members and perhaps to give the gang an opportunity to ‘save face’ and distance themselves from the boy’s actions?
New Zealand’s Gangs:
According to the book Gangs by Ross Kemp New Zealand has more gangs per head than any other country in the world, with about seventy major gangs and over 4,000 patched members in a population of about 4,000,000 people.
According to the sociologist Jarrod Gilbert, New Zealand has had problems with youth and street gangs since the 1950s. However organised crime gangs such as those which currently dominate the New Zealand scene mostly date from the 1970s. ‘Gangsta’ style gangs have been a presence in New Zealand since the early 1990s but individual gangs of this type are typically short lived.
New Zealand gangs have generally been heavily influenced by their American counterparts. Although Black Power takes its name from the black liberation movement of the same name, in many ways it and similar gangs are much more akin to white American motorcycle gangs such as the Hell’s Angels. Since the early 1990s newer gangs have primarily been influenced by African American street gangs such as the Crips and Bloods.
The Mongrel Mob is a New Zealand gang, originally formed in Hawke’s Bay in the 1960s and early 1970s.
The gang offers a surrogate ‘family’ for young men, most of whom are often alienated from their family via joining. Members are from New Zealand’s Maori, European or other Polynesian ethnic groups, with Maori or part Maori predominating. The gang currently operates in many cities within New Zealand; some of the best known chapters include Mongrel Mob Hastings, Mongrel Mob Porirua and Mongrel Mob Notorious. Mob members are notorious for their tattooed faces and red bandannas.
The name “mongrel mob” originated from the comments of a District Court Judge in the Hawkes Bay in the late 1960s, when he referred to a group of men before him as “nothing but a pack of mongrels”. The name stuck, and later, similarly named groups sprang up around the country, forming their own independent chapters.
Today there is a network of more than thirty Mongrel Mob chapters throughout New Zealand. They are especially active in King Country, Opotiki and Hastings . The Mongrel Mob’s main rival is a gang called Black Power and there have been several very public and violent clashes between the two gangs over the years.
The gang’s colours are predominantly red and black. The patches usually feature a swastika and a British Bulldog wearing a German Stahlhelm which supposedly is an image intended to offend as it is a British Bulldog wearing the helmet. The patch is worn on the back of “patched members” – those considered loyal and trustworthy enough to be in the gang. The patch will also be tattooed on the member’s body.
A Prospect is a person who is loyal to the gang but is not a “patched member” yet and must normally do errands or “missions” to show his loyalty to his gang. A Prospect normally has a “patched member” to report or “clock in” to. This “patched member” normally decides when it is time for the Prospect to be “patched”.
The hierarchy goes as follows: Captain or President, Vice President, Sergeant at arms, Patched members, Prospects. In some cases they use younger blood gangs as Prospects.
Links in the press to some other NZ gang atrocities
Is New Zealand a good place to raise children?
A sixteen year old youth from Turangi has been charged in relation to the violent attack on a five year old Belgian girl as she lay sleeping at a Turangi camping ground.
In a report the Dom Post said
Police tonight announced they had arrested a 16-year-old, who would appear in Taupo Youth Court tomorrow afternoon charged with sexual violation, aggravated wounding and burglary.
Given the degree of Mongrel Mob activity on the night of the crime, and the youth’s age, there is bound to be speculation that the crime was motivated by a desire to be part of a gang – some of the most horrendous crimes in New Zealand are committed by gang prospects.
The police investigation was said to have stretched as far as Wellington, where a matter of weeks ago two youths aged 17 and 19 were arrested for the beating death of Scottish journalist Phillip Cottrell as he walked home from work one morning.
Some other high profile cases in New Zealand where youths have been responsible for serious crimes against females include the killer of Scottish tourist Karen Aim in Taupo and of British immigrant Libby Templeman in Kerikeri. Both youths were aged only 14 when they perpetrated their terrible acts of violence and sexual degradation.
New Zealand’s youngest killer is Bailey Kurariki who was sentenced to 7 years in 2002 for the killing of a pizza delivery worker Michael Choy. He was 12 years old at the time of Mr Choy’s death and is now back behind bars for more recent offending.
Kiwis react to the arrest
New Zealanders quickly made their feelings know on the TradeMe forum, this is a sample of their more printable comments. One makes reference to the as yet unsolved killing of Charanpreet Singh Dhaliwal a security guard who died from head injuries on his first night at work in Auckland.
The camp ground is opposite the local police station, approx 6 kms from the local prison and there are six churches within walking distance of the site.
“I got a chill down my body when I just heard this on the six o’clock news…16…geesus… what is this country coming to…..almost guarantee that this excuse for a human being will get name suppression then a gentle ride through the Youth Courts, as has been said above. I don’t want to hear that he was abused/from a dysfunctional feral family etc, etc, SO fed up with this pc bullshit legal system we have here that makes namby pamby excuses for these ferals..If he is not dealt with really harshly, you can almost guarantee that he will be out to commit far, far worse crimes as he gets older…just so shocking…But well done to the Police for making a speedy arrest, bet he has previous history to.”
“thanks nz police ! many thanks. will you please now get the scum that killed that young indian security boy, on his first night on the job. thanks again.”
“So all those that got on here and accused the father can go eat there words and apoligise too.”
“Quite right. As far as I know Belgium doesn’t have a feral underclass, especially not one who takes their family on international camping holidays “of a lifetime”. This pondscum is just the tip of the iceberg in this “fair” land. He should do 10 years hard labour. That might even make a man of him?”
“A well known church member’s son?
Care to share which church?”
And there were the inevitable references to the attack being gang motivated and comments about personal security in the little town
“it wouldnt be an initiation..it would be a case of being the most violent outrageous etc so you are more prominent and have a higher chance of being ‘approved”
“Probably more one of these boy gangs they have these days i would say and from when i went to Turangi a few months back looking for a lost pup i bred i found the youth there very unapproachable as well as a lot of other residents i actually said to hubby at the time don’t think i would want to walk through here at night and i used to stay at the same camp ground as a kid and my memorys were not what they are now about the place.”
“most if not all of those boys gangs, tend to be prospects and aspire to “greater things”. for want of a better turn of phrase”
Broken New Zealand
You may also be interested in an older blog of ours How New Zealanders Would Fix “Broken New Zealand” from August 2011. We wrote about how Kiwis proposed that their country should be fixed, it makes interesting reading.
We’re pleased to hear that police have said persons of interest have been identified in the hunt for the man who savagely attacked a five year old Belgian girl at a Turangi camping ground.
There’s more good news too – the little girl was released from hospital today and her family have thanked people for their gifts and messages of support.
Hopefully they will be able to leave New Zealand soon, then will start the long and difficult process of putting their lives back together and helping their daughter and son recover. We wish them all the best for the future.
Part of that healing process will be knowing that the man (or men) responsible will be found quickly and permanently prevented from ever inflicting this harm on another child.
The child was under the care and treatment of Hamilton based and Mangalore-born paediatric surgeon Askar Kukkady and a team of medical workers at Waikato District Health Board.
The Hindu newspaper says of him:
“Dr. Kukkady, who did his MBBS and MS degrees from Kasturba Medical College with a gold medal for general surgery, had his Magister Chirurgiae (M.Ch) degree from Kozhikode Medical College.
He worked in Australia for two years from 1992, and did a fellowship in Oxford. After getting a Fellowship from Edinburgh’s Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), Dr. Kukkady went to Los Angeles, USA, to work in a children’s hospital. “I learned a lot there,” he said.
He migrated to New Zealand in 1997, working in different hospitals, and later settling in Hamilton. In 2002, he became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS), a coveted position for a surgeon.
That, he said, was the toughest exam he took.”
Waikato DHB is indeed fortunate to have him on their team.