Youth crime: Anti-domestic violence advocate says parents need to take responsibility, be role models

Youth crime has been under the spotlight with the blame being tossed between the Government, society and the children responsible for the spate of crime across the country.

But an advocate against domestic violence says parents need to take responsibility for their children as the wave of youth crime brings attention to the importance of being a role model.

It comes as the country celebrates White Ribbon Day, with White Ribbon NZ highlighting the important message "boys become the men we teach them to be".

The White Ribbon Campaign is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence, particularly focused on domestic violence. White Ribbon NZ aims to flip the script of "boys will be boys" and focus on all the great qualities boys and men can demonstrate if that's what they are taught.

White Ribbon Ambassador Floyd Ormsby knows all too well the effects of childhood abuse and lack of role models growing up.

Ormsby describes his childhood as a "nightmare".

He was the youngest of four, his mother passed away when he was only three years old and he moved from household to household, suffering abuse, both physical and psychological. By the time Ormbsy was eight he had committed his first burglary and was shipped off to a boarding school where he was sexually abused.

Ormsby said he had no role models and lived with violence and abuse which helped create "an angry young man that hurt people and destroyed relationships".

"To be perfectly honest it screwed me up," Ormsby told Melissa Chan-Green on AM. "It was just a nightmare, really, right through my childhood, right through my school life."

But Ormsby said we can turn that around if we can show kindness towards our young men, and demonstrate to them what a respectful relationship looks like.

Ormsby changed the violent path he was on when he mentored a young lad whose dad was killed in a car accident. He is now role-modelling healthy masculinity and respectful relationships as a high-performance coach and referee.

As a role model, Ormsby said we need to be conscious of our actions and the examples it is setting for children.

There is too much "duck shoving" of our roles onto society and parents need to take responsibility for the actions of their children.

"If we don't demonstrate the behaviours that we want to see, then the kids aren't going to know, so parents do have to take responsibility."

"Now it's time for all of us to play our part and be role models for our young men and women."

Where to find help and support: 

Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633

Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)

Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737

What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)

Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat

Samaritans - 0800 726 666

Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757

Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584