It is our moral duty to keep an eye out for one another

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My daughter was attacked as she waited to get a bus home from Canterbury this week – an incident which every parent dreads.

Ultimately, it was more handbags at dawn than knives at dusk, but punches were thrown, hair was pulled and her sense of personal security was ruffled.

What’s more, her father’s desire for ruthless revenge was suitably stoked. I have since calmed down.

She’s only 14 and her group of friends were being hounded by other youngsters who, it would seem, were determined to cause trouble.

As they strolled along to board their bus, they were taunted and then things turned nasty.

To almost underline the stupidity of her attackers, one was known to one of my daughter’s friends.

It’s a relatively small world, and before the night was through we had his name and his school’s management team knew exactly how he and his mates liked to wile away their journey home from school.

What’s more, with one of my daughter’s friends picking up a punch in the face for daring to go to my daughter’s aid, the police are involved too.

All in all, a thoroughly unpleasant incident, which, if nothing else, acted as a good platform to remind the children about the need, sometimes, just to extract yourself from situations where idiots intent on causing trouble are, well, intent on causing trouble.

There are, after all, plenty of them in all walks of life; people for whom reason and a lack of aggro are a foreign language. The trick is finding the way to avoid them.

But it almost goes without saying that as this unpleasant incident took place, so the watching adults did nothing about it.

Granted, it may have just been a few moments of violence, but I would like to think that if I saw children clearly involved in an unpleasant scrap I would do something.

Yet despite being pulled to the ground, my daughter’s primary upset as she told me this story was that no-one came to help them. That it was left to some 14-year-old girls to be hounded by a gang of boys and girls and fend for themselves.

I appreciate there is a danger to anyone attempting to intervene in incidents, but we all have a moral duty to do something; if only to shout at them to scare them into behaving or thinking twice about what they are doing.

To do nothing seems, to me at least, inexcusable.

There was a story just this week about the level of violent crime dropping in this country, which is to be welcomed.

But it’s the low-level anti-social behaviour crimes which we should ensure we all stand up to and make it clear we do not tolerate.

My daughter’s pride will swiftly return. The bruise on her friend’s face will heal.

Their faith in humanity and the generosity of spirit in others may take a little longer to recover.


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