25 Nov 2013

White Ribbon march gives community a voice

6:42 pm on 25 November 2013

Participants in a West Auckland march against domestic violence say numbers appear to have been bolstered by the backlash against a group accused of having sex with drunk and sometimes underage girls.

More than 250 people marched into Henderson from Waitakere Hospital on Monday as part of White Ribbon Day, which promotes people speaking out against domestic violence.

Some who took part say the turnout was increased because of the publicity about a group which called itself Roast Busters - a group of teenage men boasting online of sex with drunk and sometimes underage girls.

Waitakere Anti-Violence essential services manager Tania Fletcher said people needed a voice and the march meant they were able to have one.

"They needed to be able to say something, something that's really important, and that's what they've been able to do in this march," Ms Fletcher said.

Some marchers said the group, which is being investigated by police, had a large impact on west Auckland communities.

"It shouldn't detract from the violence (message), the family violence, but I think it has brought people out," one man said.

"I've spoken to people who have said 'the Roast Busters have brought them here'."

Police last week said they were making "steady progress" with their investigation.

Police had set up a freephone number for anyone with information about the group, and anyone who wanted to talk to the inquiry team could call 0800 672568.