Three teenagers have been implicated in the brutal assault of a disabled 17-year-old in Victoria, Australia. The incident is being described by police as "one of the worst assaults in 30 years."
According to News.com.au, two 15-year-olds and a 12-year-old tricked the disabled victim into going to a local Moe park, where they attacked her. The children posted video of the assault on social media.
The intellectually disabled teen had her face beaten, her broken phone smashed into her face, and her hands seared on a barbeque. She was also kicked and punched repeatedly.
The victim was taken to a hospital where she is expected to recover.
The victim's mother has described the attack as “incomprehensible ... The amount of times they pummelled her head into that picnic table is disgusting,” she said. "Her face is black and blue, she’s unrecognizable.”
“The footage is pretty graphic,” said Detective Senior Constable Michael Thek, who ackowledged that many in his department were patently horrified by the video, characterizing it as one of the worst things they've had to witness.
The young perpetrators have been charged with robbery and assault. The 12-year-old has been released on bail.
The names of the criminals and the name of the victim have not yet been released.
The Australian notes that children with disabilities are statistically more likely to be the victims of abuse.
“I think it’s a mix of factors, but high on the list there’s a lack of community acceptance for young people with disabilities and people with disabilities generally," explained Youth Disability Advocacy Service manager Leah Van Poppel. Poppel added that police are also less likely to believe the narratives of abuse victims who are intellectually disabled.
A report from The Arc notes that most police offices do not have special distinctions to note when a victim of a crime is intellectually or physically disabled, making statistics on the matter harder to collect: "Studies show that rates of abuse among children with disabilities are variable, ranging from a low of 22 percent to a high of 70 percent."
[Photo: Screenshot from Facebook]