Bullies destroying my daughter’s life

JANE found the note a week ago.

A simple handwritten scrawl on a piece of paper, a jagged edge where it was torn from the pad.

It was three paragraphs.

But the message was simple — her teenage daughter was now trapped in the eye of a tempest of hatred where relentless bullying had left her disorientated, questioning her life, whether she could continue.

“These people, they are just kids, are destroying what are supposed to be the best years of my daughter’s life,” Jane said yesterday.

“It forced her to leave high school a year ago.

“It has now followed her to her new school, she has been tormented on Facebook and abused in the supermarket.

“Chloe (not her real name) started cutting herself, she is on anti-depressants and now she’s on suicide watch.

“I check on her during the night, keep tabs on her whereabouts, worry when she is in her room alone.

“It is every parent’s worst nightmare — I want people to know this is not acceptable, I want others to know how easy this can happen, I want others to speak out and I’m happy to lead the charge.”

Jane, not her real name, lives in a simple home in Wodonga.

Up until 12 months ago it was a simple life.

It has been anything else since.

Chloe missed three weeks of school at the end of last year.

The school policy of sending a text message to parents when a student was absent without explanation failed.

“She would get dressed, take her bag and off she would go,” Jane said yesterday.

“It turned out she was hiding in parks, waiting for me to go to work or study — she was too scared to go to school.

“When she moved to a new school things improved — her outlook, her grades.

“And then Facebook caught up with her and it started all over again.

“Facebook is supposed to be a tool but these kids use it as a weapon.

“What we need is to end the unrestricted, unfiltered comments that are often said without any knowledge, any fact — it is mental assault 24/7.”

Jane says while in the past week she has finally found a series of support services and counselling, many others were simply inappropriate.

She says initially the services told her the crisis with her daughter was not at a point that warranted their intervention. Chloe was put on a waiting list for a psychologist, with the next available appointment not until February.

“She was cutting herself,” Jane said.

“It is her way of dealing with the torment.

“How do we stop these people writing on Facebook, the verbal attacks when she goes to the supermarket?

“What do you do when they are abusing your daughter in public — big teenagers — do you confront them?

“She now locks herself in the room, starts cutting her legs and arms, she won’t go out the door, she is too frightened to go anywhere.

“What we need is one of these headspace centres — where your child doesn’t need to be at extreme risk before anyone can see you.”