Roast Busters: Sex scandal prompts increase in calls for help

By Kathryn Powley

Roast Busters Joseph Parker, left, and Beraiah Hales triggered the scandal.
Roast Busters Joseph Parker, left, and Beraiah Hales triggered the scandal.

The Roast Busters scandal has stretched support services for rape and sexual violence complainants as a wave of abuse victims seek help.

The scandal unfolded last month when it emerged a group of young men in West Auckland, calling themselves the Roast Busters, boasted online of having sex with underage girls.

Help Auckland crisis service manager Aimee Stockenstroom said the scandal had prompted more people to seek help.

"We typically have an average of 1000 calls a month. For November we had about 1500. In October we provided 37 call-out services for police and medical, and in November we provided 62."

Some people wanted to report abuse to the police, others needed support for historic assaults.

Green Party MP Jan Logie said 11 of 18 sexual violence support providers surveyed reported a significant increase in demand.

"Every time we have stories in the media, it triggers people to go and get help. That's a really good thing but the problem is that our current services were already struggling, and Government knows that."

She said the Government should be more pro-active in its support.

Wellington Rape Crisis manager Natalie Gousmett said existing and new clients had sought extra support from the organisation.

Although the surge corresponded with an increase in public donations to the service, there had been no increase in Government funding.

The organisation received $77,000 from the Ministry of Social Development, and $233,000 from fundraising and grants.

The police investigation into the Roast Busters case is ongoing.

Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus said: "The focus remains on speaking with a number of girls, a process that is incredibly delicate and requires a great deal of care and time to ensure the health, well-being and privacy of the girls is maintained."

- Herald on Sunday

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