Teen girls sucked into crime by older men

The Nelson Mail 06/02/2010

More teenage girls are turning to crime and violence after becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol through their older boyfriends, a Nelson lawyer says. His observations are backed up by groundbreaking research being done by social anthropologist Donna Swift, who says the teenage girls in trouble with police for violence or anti-social behaviour she deals with, often have boyfriends four or five years older. Lawyer John Sandston said during the past year he had noticed a pattern emerging where in “case after case” the girls aged 14-16 coming before the Youth Court on violence and dishonesty charges were hanging around with much older men, who were giving them drugs and alcohol, initially for free.

..Dr Swift is a third of the way through ground-breaking research looking at the use of violence and anti-social behaviour in girls aged 13 to 17, called The Girls’ Project. As part of her studies Dr Swift is gathering information from 3000 young girls in the Tasman police district, which covers the top of the South Island. Ad Feedback Dr Swift said a pattern had emerged in that many of the girls in trouble she spoke to had older boyfriends. The girls were often physically mature and did not fit in at school, or have other interests. Often the older boyfriend was the only thing that made them feel good. She said what concerned her was that the relationships the girls had with their older partners often had a level of dating violence that was similar to a domestic violence type relationship.