I was a bully - I wanted to be violent

17 September 2019, 15:56 | Updated: 18 September 2019, 03:25

Gang members, perpetrators and victims of violent crime are being protected in safe houses to help them move away from trouble.

Demar is 14.

He is one of the young people living in a safe house because he was leading a life of crime, involving drug dealing and violence.

He has been stabbed seven times, and admits having violent and aggressive urges.

After being given somewhere safe and secure to stay, he is now making positive changes in order to turn his life around.

Here, he tells Sky News about what things were like before the safe house.

In primary and secondary school I was getting in a lot of trouble. My mum tried to help but she couldn't. She tried to provide support for me but it never worked. I started to like being violent. I liked to fight people, I liked hurting people.

It all started when I got kicked out of school. I got sent to a PRU (pupil referral unit) and I met people doing all the bad stuff, so because of my characteristics I got into it quick. I was trapping (selling drugs) and was doing things they couldn't - I was selling to people and giving them deals and getting money.

I was a bully basically. Anyone I saw who had something good, anyone I saw who looked like they wanted drugs I'd try and sell to them or I'd beat people up and take their stuff.

I'd carry all sorts of weapons. Once my mum caught me with an eight-inch knife and she called the police because she didn't know what to do. She was shocked.

But doing the type of things I was doing I needed protection. You have to protect yourself when you're on the roads.

I was never afraid of doing violent things.

One night I met up with some friends and we all got in a car.

We were driving and saw a bunch of boys on bikes and got into an altercation.

We tried to turn the car around and crashed. I was trying to help one of my friends and I got stabbed in the middle of it all.

I didn't know I'd been stabbed until I saw blood pouring out onto my shoes and I got so dizzy. One of my friends called an ambulance and I got taken to hospital.

I don't remember much but I woke up and they were trying to stop the bleeding.

It's weird because I never really felt it until I saw the blood and then I started to ache when I moved.

I never really got scared. I was only scared whenever it all caught up to me. I had a little fear but I wouldn't show it.

I'm at the safe house now because of the way my life was.

I was really shy when I first arrived here but people started warming up to me and we connected a lot better.

If I wasn't here I'd be deeper in it. The day I got stabbed I was planning on never coming back home.

I was planning on living in one of the houses of the people I associated with.

In those houses you're with everyone in that gang. You wake up and you go to the block until like 3am.

It's so hard to get out of it because you're in so deep and you know too much.

Knowing that information gets you in trouble.

But now I feel determined to become something so I can help my generation.

I feel like I should be doing something. There is too much death.

I only survived because of luck.