The mother of a 14-year-old autistic boy who was allegedly bashed by a group of teenage thugs claims her son was targeted after standing up for a friend who was being bullied.
A 15-year-old boy has since been charged by police.
He’s been charged with affray, recklessly causing injury and intentionally causing injury.
Quinn Lahiff-Jenkins was allegedly lured to a Melbourne high school on Tuesday by a group of five boys who can be seen pinning Quinn to the ground and beating him with spanners in sickening footage released by the Herald Sun.
Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins described the video to 3AW Mornings as “pretty gruesome”.
“He contacted these kids and told them they were being bad friends, because of his autism he’s not always able to recognise things,” Carmen told Nick McCallum.
“The children rang him and rang him and said, ‘Meet us at the school, if you don’t come we’re going to come to your house and rape your mother’.”
“No adults stopped to help, no one beeped their horn or did anything, another thing which is very distressing.
“It’s an incredible level of violence.
“It’s my husband’s and my worst nightmare, I know it’s the worst nightmare of most parents who have an autistic child.”
Carmen said Quinn is physically bruised but otherwise unhurt, it’s his mental health she is concerned about now.
Quinn had only recently entered the mainstream school system and is now to terrified to leave home.
The footage was taken by the friend who Quinn was allegedly standing up for, who Carmen says didn’t know what to do, and thought documenting it might be best so she could show the police.
“It’s an interesting and terrifying reflection of our macho culture,” Carmen said.
“I feel very sorry for the parents of these kids.”
3AW Mornings was then inundated with calls from people suffering from autism and parents of autistic children, expressing their compassion and admiration for Carmen.
Listener Greg, who suffers Asperger’s, told Nick McCallum her comments were powerful.
“What a wonderful woman his mother is,” he said.
Fiona Sharkie, CEO of Amaze (the peak body for autistic people and their families) said the autism community is “reeling” from the news today.
“Everyday we are hearing about difficulty from autistic children at school,” Fiona said.
“They’re four times more likely to be bullied than other students in mainstream schools.
“They have to be called to account, violence is never okay.”