‘We had youngsters who were bullied and beaten after school’: Teenagers turn to crime victim support services

Sally Hanlon, director of Support After Crime Services on Anglesea St in Cork, said the organisation had been dealing with young people who were physically assaulted after school.
‘We had youngsters who were bullied and beaten after school’: Teenagers turn to crime victim support services

A NUMBER of Cork teenagers are turning to crime victim support services during their summer holidays due to the severe impact of vicious school bullying. File image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A NUMBER of Cork teenagers are turning to crime victim support services during their summer holidays due to the severe impact of vicious school bullying.

Sally Hanlon, director of Support After Crime Services on Anglesea St in Cork, said the organisation had been dealing with young people who were physically assaulted after school.

The assaults took place outside of school hours and away from school grounds.

However, Ms Hanlon remarked that the attacks had been premeditated, with meticulous planning during school hours.

She is now calling on schools to take accountability to prevent such crimes and keep young people safe.

Another concern she raised centred around the use of technology during attacks — including recording them on mobile devices. She added that while physical injuries might heal, the emotional scarring runs deep.

“We had youngsters who were bullied and beaten after school,” Ms Hanlon said.

“While they were OK medically, the emotional impact was very severe.

“The school was aware of what was happening but they didn’t get involved since the attack itself didn’t take place on school grounds.”

Ms Hanlon explained that emotional abuse could be just as damaging as a physical assault.

Sally Hanlon, director of Support After Crime Services on Anglesea St in Cork, said the organisation had been dealing with young people who were physically assaulted after school. Picture Des Barry
Sally Hanlon, director of Support After Crime Services on Anglesea St in Cork, said the organisation had been dealing with young people who were physically assaulted after school. Picture Des Barry

“These youngsters knew that beating was coming for a couple of days. There was harassment involved as well as intimidation and threats.

“Harassment can have a real impact. It takes away the person’s peace of mind and they are questioning themselves — asking ‘why me?’ or ‘what did I do to make them pick on me?’

“It’s a difficult one and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to dealing with the effects of this kind of abuse”.

She said a clear message needed to be sent out condemning such behaviour.

“There should be consequences for the perpetrator’s actions because if there aren’t, they have effectively gotten away with the crime. The family of the victim can become very affected. If the person responsible isn’t held accountable then a family can feel forever aggrieved.”

Rifts can also become evident between families.

“Families want to know how they can approach the other. It’s common for the parent of the young person responsible to be in denial, which can intensify the situation further.”

She pointed out how social media has made the organising of antisocial gatherings less difficult.

“Social media and apps have allowed many young people to become invisible. They can organise gatherings online and away from their own locality, making it more difficult for them to be detected.”
“Social media and apps have allowed many young people to become invisible. They can organise gatherings online and away from their own locality, making it more difficult for them to be detected.”

“Social media and apps have allowed many young people to become invisible. They can organise gatherings online and away from their own locality, making it more difficult for them to be detected.”

Ms Hanlon said that more facilities are needed for youths to deter them from antisocial behaviour.

“The majority of kids are good. If there were more activities to encourage participation among young people it would ease these issues significantly.”

Ms Hanlon’s comments come just a year after she reported service users whose traumatic experiences of crime had been undermined by the age of the perpetrator which, in some instances, was very young.

She had remarked at the time that children as young as eight or nine had caused serious damage to people’s properties. Others were responsible for the theft of items, including a handbag.

“These children are too young for punishment, so it appears that there is nothing the victim can do in this situation,” she said.

“There’s no way that we would even want to see a child being confined in any way. What we would like to see is parents being held accountable.

“If there is damage being done to a property or a bag with money in it gets snatched, their parents should be held accountable.”

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