Kiddie gang terrorising a community
By Samantha Turnbull
Tracey Blundell shudders as she recounts the attacks on her three young daughters which left one of them hospitalised and the others too afraid to leave their Goonellabah home.
The girls, aged 11, eight and four, have been hit with glass bottles, metal pipes and dragged by their hair along the ground by a group of up to 15 children who she says are kiddie gangsters who have terrorised the Shearman Drive area for more than eight months.
Tracey said the police were unable to charge the children because they were too young.
"I've called the police too many times to count," she said. "But they can't do anything because the kids are too young."
Tracey says she has had to resort to locking her daughters indoors on afternoons and weekends, moving them to a different school and stopping them from attending church in order to protect them.
Lismore duty officer Insp Bill McKenna said the age of criminal liability was 10 and over, but if younger children were causing significant problems they would take action through the Department of Community Services (DoCS).
Tracey's father, Chris Blundell, said he had also reported the group, which is made up of many girls under the age of 10, to DoCS and the Department of Housing.
"DoCS said they couldn't do anything about it because the kids weren't in danger, but they're putting our kids in danger," he said.
"We had to take Tracey's eldest daughter to hospital after she was attacked with a metal pipe because we thought she had a broken arm.
"Nearly every day after school a group of kids goes to a house and terrorises the kids that live there and their mother by throwing rocks and anything they can find at the house and occupants.
"They once threw half a brick at a house.
"Our daughter can't even have visitors without them being targets as well.
"The 'best' thing about this is the kids' parents are there making sure that their kids are not going to get hurt while they are causing all this trouble.
"Now there are people coming up from town (Lismore) to join in the so-called fun their kids are having.
"We've put up with this for eight months and now it's getting worse. Because we've made complaints to the police and DoCS about the kiddie gangsters, we are now being threatened by the kids' parents, aunties, uncles ect."
However, Tracey's mother, Sharon, said the police and DoCS were not to blame.
"The parents should be charged if the kids are too young," she said.
"They're as much to blame because they just stand there and watch what's going on without trying to stop it."
Tracey said the vicious attacks were completely unprovoked and just one of many examples of the group's out-of-control behaviour.
"I've had neighbours with their windows smashed and rocks thrown at them," she said.
"They've written graffiti all over the park and phone box. The things they write are so vulgar ? kids that young shouldn't even know those words."
Tracey is now trying to find a new home outside of Goonellabah.
"It took me five years to get this house from North Coast Community Housing and I don't feel like I should have to leave, but I don't have a choice," she said.
"I want my daughters to grow up somewhere safe, have a good education and not be surrounded by this."