Mother speaks out over daughter's gangrape and suicide because 'bullying costs lives'

Police never made arrests because Cassidy couldn't bring herself to make formal statement

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The Independent Online

A heartbroken mother has spoken out against bullying after her 15-year-old daughter took her own life, following years of abuse which culminated in a gang rape.   

Linda Trevan said Cassidy's tormentors vandalised their family home, slapped her across the face, repeatedly insulted her in person and on social media, and followed around her local shops.

The bullying continued despite attempts to resettle her daughter in two new schools, she said.

They had moved house after two "older boys that Cass didn't know" had raped her, she added. 

Throughout the attack she said that two girls "sat and waited" while the pair "shared her and timed each other" as another "boy stood guarding the front door.”

Ms Trevan, from Melbourne, Australia, shared her daughter's ordeal in a 500-word Facebook post. 

"I had to watch my baby suffer for the next 22 months from these demons," she wrote. "She worried you would find her and get her again, she went through continued bullying from some of you who managed to get to her by phone or social media, via others, even after what you'd done to her."

She added that her daughter had "suffered flash backs of the crime, nightmares, insomnia, separation anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD and subsequent worsening mental illness."

In a separate interview with Australia's 9 News, Ms Trevan said a fence at their home had been defaced with graffiti and a banana peel was placed on the door mat.

Cassidy missed her entire fourth term at school in late 2013, but returned the for two days a week the following February at the age of 13, having completed a recovery programme, she added. 

At that point the bullies apologised, she said, and they invited her daughter to join them at a festival.

It was then that the rape took place. 

Cassidy reported the attack to police and spoke to detectives several times. But Ms Trevan said she was "scared to make a formal statement for fear of retaliation from the gang, and she also was worried reliving it would ‘push her over the edge'.”

Detectives from Victoria Police's Sexual Offence and Child Abuse Investigation Team (SOCIT) said there were "at least 20 interactions between" officers and the family.

“During those conversations the SOCIT detectives explained options, put protections in place and ensured the victim was receiving assistance from support services,” a Victoria Police spokesperson told The Independent. “They encouraged the victim in each interaction to make a statement.

"Throughout this time period the SOCIT followed up some other investigative leads. The victim declined at each stage to proceed with the matter. No charges were laid.”

Ms Trevan said that "she went to the school but was told it was a police matter."

A Department of Education and Training spokesman said: “The death of any young person is an absolute tragedy and our sympathies are with Cassidy’s family.

“Schools have a range of ways to help students who may be experiencing bullying or mental health issues, including by providing qualified counsellors. School staff work hard to identify and support students who need support and we would encourage any students who need help to talk to staff at their school.” 

Cassidy took her own life in December 2015.

In Her Facebook post, Ms Trevan said: "I helplessly watched my precious child wither away before my eyes, mentally & physically, until she rarely got out of bed, until she could no longer take the pain and torment you caused her. Cassy was my world, she still is and she always will be. But now I have nothing, and I'm still trying to find a reason to go on without her.”

She added: “I want the bullies out there to know that it’s not just a game. It costs lives.”

In the UK, NSPCC statistics from last year show it conducted 25,700 childline counselling sessions because of bullying.

Around half of British LGBT young people experience homophobic bullying at school and around 78,000 young people are absent from UK schools each year because of bullying.

Anyone worried about a child in the UK can contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 500.