7 06 2008

Disabled teen attacked

by Erin Bishop

June 6, 2008

The Ashburton Guardian

http://www.ashburtonguardian.co.nz/index.asp?articleid=11520

An Ashburton man is disgusted by the actions of six youths who allegedly assaulted his disabled daughter in broad daylight.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said his 16-year-old wheelchair-bound daughter was on her way home from school when she was set upon by a group of six youths who repeatedly kicked her in the legs on Moore Street, outside Ashburton Borough School, at about 4pm on Wednesday 21 May.

The alleged assault was witnessed by concerned members of the public who called the police, while the teenager’s father was called to come and pick her up.

The once independent teenager is still recovering both physically and mentally from the incident and now refuses to go into town by herself and does not even want to go to school. A determined young woman, she is sticking with it though as she is determined to pass NCEA.

The teenager said she had been receiving verbal abuse from the alleged offenders for some time but this was the first time it had turned physically violent.

She was unable to defend herself during the attack as the offenders allegedly covered the controls of her motorised wheelchair. All she could do was cover her face with her hands and hope that she did not end up upside down in the gutter.

She was grateful to those who came to her assistance and her father believed, as it was a busy street and a busy time of the day, others would have witnessed the incident.

The abuse had been ongoing since though, with the teenager receiving threats from those responsible as recent as yesterday.

Police attended last month’s assault but the teenager and her dad said the female police officer was shown no respect by the alleged offenders. They said the youths pulled the fingers at the police officer and, despite what she had just been through, the teenager said she felt sorry for the police officer.

Ashburton Police Senior Sergeant Grant Russell said he was concerned by the incident.

“It’s concerning that there’s kids out there with no respect for anybody,” Mr Russell said.

He said the case was being dealt with by the police youth aid section.

The father of the teenager was disappointed with the lack of communication he’d had from the police though and questioned why the family had not been offered help from Victim Support.

One of his biggest concerns, apart from for his own daughter’s safety, was that the same thing could happen to other members of Mid Canterbury’s disabled or elderly population and he believed the public needed to be made aware that such things were happening in their town.

He said he had also taken his concerns to the mayor’s office at the Ashburton District Council, and to Grey Power.

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