12 06 2008

Disabled teen ‘afraid to leave house’

by Sue Newman

11 June 2008

Ashburton Guardian

http://www.ashburtonguardian.co.nz/index.asp?articleid=11542

The disabled teenager bashed by a group of youths three weeks ago is so traumatised she is afraid to leave her home.

The young woman was set upon by a group of youths as she was travelling home along Moore Street. Witnesses called police and the youths were spoken to.

That was three weeks ago and the teenager’s father is still waiting for a visit from the police. Indications are he might be waiting for some time.

“I had a visit from Victim Support and they rang me again yesterday and said the police will get to you sooner or later as they’re very busy dealing with other problems,” he said.

His daughter has not returned to school and has rarely left the house since the incident.

“She won’t go up town now, her social life has ended and they’re still out there running around.”

Because at least one of the youths who terrorised his daughter attends Ashburton College with her, he has approached the school and asked what could be done. He was told, that because the incident did not occur at school, it was a matter for the police, not the school to deal with. But the police are not dealing with the matter, the father said.

No-one has contacted them; no-one even bothered to check out his daughter’s injuries after the attack – both legs were badly bruised.

A similar incident in Blenheim, where a student was attacked on campus by three 15-year-old girls, saw the offenders charged with assault and intent to injure.

He’s asking why the same thing has not occurred in his daughter’s case.

“Why won’t the police stand up and be counted? We pay them to protect us.”

Add to that his concerns that it took half an hour for a response when the person who came to his daughter’s rescue dialed 111.

“How many times could you walk from the police station to Moore Street in half an hour? Talk about the thin blue line; we’ve got the disappearing blue line,” he said.

Ashburton police youth aid officer, senior constable Rob Hooper would not comment on the case, citing “privacy issues surrounding youth”. However, he did say he believed issues surrounding the incident had been “sensationalised” and that “mis-information had been bandied around”.

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