EXCLUSIVE: Parents of 3 Christchurch families speak out over their children’s rampant crime spree

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 28, 2023 |

The father of a 13-year-old boy involved in a smash-and-grab at Sharkey’s pub in Hoon Hay said he and his wife were “trying their hardest.”

Note: The identities of the parents, their families, and children can’t be disclosed for legal reasons.

Three parents from separate Christchurch families whose children were involved in multiple ram raids and burglaries have spoken out over their criminal behaviour.

Christchurch has witnessed a surge in youth-related criminal activity, leading to growing concern among community leaders, politicians, and members of the public expressing doubts about the effectiveness of the current legal framework for dealing with youth offenders.

The father of a 13-year-old boy involved in a smash-and-grab at a Hoon Hay pub over the weekend said he and his wife were “trying their hardest.”

“Our son was brought home by the police at 3.30am. As far as we were aware, he was in bed and was already grounded, but he snuck out the bathroom window.

We took his devices off him so he couldn’t contact anyone, but he stole his siblings’ devices. He just doesn’t care what we do.”

The father said he was not a gang member and his family was not affiliated with gangs.

“Not all parents are letting their children run wild.”

The father said he had a large family and their eldest was excelling at school and off on an overseas trip because of her outstanding achievements.

His other children had never been in trouble with the law, but it was different with his 13-year-old.

“Yes, he commits ram raids and burglaries. Do we allow it? No. Do we punish him? Yes.

We are two full-time hard-working parents and we discipline our children, take devices off them, and ground them. We punish our children to what the law says we can.”

The father said “the problem is that the law states that we can’t discipline them any further than that.

The law states the police can’t do anything more than drop them home to a parent or guardian who has no ability to control these children because they know they can get away with it.”

The father said he found criminal evidence on his son’s cell phone and handed it to the police.

“We’ve gone to many meetings and pushed police to give him community detention, which he refuses to do and runs away because he knows no one can do anything.”

The father said ”we have put our lives and that of our other children on hold to try to get help for our son, and make him accountable. Why should people be able to say we should be held accountable as parents when we are?

We are doing the best we can with what we have and we are failing with him.”

The father said the law was too soft.

“I don’t want to see our son charged, but he needs to be. The police need to be given the tools to hold these children accountable when the parents are doing all they can.”

His wife had two meetings and half a dozen phone calls every week to come up with ways to keep their son safe.

“We get people ridiculing us through social media without knowing our struggle.”

In a double edge sword, the father said police informed him on Tuesday that his son would “finally face criminal charges” after raiding Sharkey’s Pub in Hoon Hay.

“We hope he does because nothing we do is teaching him anything – as he finds other ways.”

His wife told Chris Lynch Media for nine months, she had been asking police and Oranga Tamariki for help.

“We get told they can’t do anything because he’s under 14.”

She said her son was getting some support from the Child, Adolescent and Family Community Services (CAF) South Community and Outreach team [an outpatient service providing psychiatric assessment and therapeutic intervention for children and adolescents 0-17 years.]

Mother of teenager who crashed stolen car in Ilam said he hope he would change his ways

On Monday four teenagers crashed into a Land Rover and flipped a stolen car in Ilam. The mother of one of the offenders told Chris Lynch Media she wanted the public to know “they are not criminals.”

She said those involved were “sweet young boys that needed a good lesson before they end up in jail or worse a funeral. It’s heartbreaking to see what they’re doing. I see these boys daily and I believe they will stop. All we can do is hope.”

After watching an interview with Christopher Luxon discussing “boot camp” as a possible solution to reduce youth crime, another mother of a 13-year-old offender contact Chris Lynch Media to share her story.

“I agree with him on the military approach,” she said.

“When I was a teenager and decided to be a bit dysfunctional, I was sent to a military camp for a week. It was tough, but it was beneficial, and I genuinely enjoyed my time there.”

The mother, who is a single parent, revealed that her child had been involved in multiple ram raids and car thefts and was no longer attending school.

She had reached out to Oranga Tamariki for help, but she said they had “palmed her off” to another organisation that offered no support.

Feeling helpless and powerless, the mother confessed that she had considered taking drastic measures to ensure her child’s safety.

“I’m this close to kidnapping my son and escorting him to Australia to stay with my uncle,” she said.

“I feel helpless and useless.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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