Police have learned since Roastbusters case: Nicholas

Hannah Bartlett, Alicia Burrow,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 2 December 2015, 8:09AM
Louise Nicholas (NZME.)

A prominent rape survivor and advocate insists the police have come a long way since the Roastbusters scandal as yet another case of teenagers involved in unlawful activity with young women comes to light.

Five seventeen and eighteen year olds linked with Opotiki College are charged with unlawful sexual conduct with girls under 16.

Louise Nicholas said that following the criticism they copped during the Roastbusters case police are now taking this kind of behaviour a lot more seriously.

"I think that was a real wake-up call, but what we've got to understand is that actually this sort of behaviour by our young people is happening all the time and has been happening for a long time."


Nicholas says when so much of the offending is documented on social media, the police have a tough job finding it, and getting access to it.

She says it's even more difficult when official complaints aren't made.

"The good thing about the young people in Opotiki have been well-supported, they have come to police and their parents are very helpful in that, so that's huge."

Meanwhile a youth group is urging New Zealanders to have more open discussions with young people to counter the impact of negative sexual content.

Youthline's Stephen Bell said it’s difficult to stop teens from viewing sexual content, but it’s important we provide balance.

“We need to engage with our young people in schools and in families so that we counter what they might be meeting in the free-for-all of the internet.”

Bell is asking adults to step up to the mark and take leadership over the issue.

“The influence on a young person and their behaviour comes from the world around them, that’s why it’s the responsibility of adults to lead the charge around what’s normal.”

The students charged will appear in Opotiki District Court tomorrow.

Police said that while the men have links to Opotiki College, nothing suggests the alleged offending occurred at the school, or that any school staff were involved.


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