Group assault victims being bullied online

Makayla Spiers, Annalise Cooper and Tae Flavell have been subjected to online abuse. Photo: Stephen JaquieryA victim of a group assault says she and her friends are being bullied online by people linked to the teenage perpetrators.

Tae Flavell (19) has a broken ankle and a bruised and battered body after Saturday's assault, but it is not the physical pain which affects her most.

Since she and friends Annalise Cooper (19) and Makayla Spiers (18) went public about being attacked by a group of girls and the resulting footage circulating on social media, they have been subjected to online attacks.

''They talk on Facebook about how we are liars and we provoked them, and even if that was the case - which it is not - no-one deserves to be on the ground being booted,'' she said.

Facebook threats connected to the assailants - which included links to the footage - warned of similar actions awaiting others who talked about the assailants.

This week, the mother of one of the teenage girls connected with the serious assault apologised for her daughter's actions.

The attack had left Miss Flavell experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, and ''I am nervous to go out because I know people will be talking about me''.

''I just want them to realise that it is not just the physical pain they have inflicted upon us. It is hard to deal with mentally as well ... I am very traumatised. I am having nightmares and they don't understand that.''

Her friends no longer wanted to socialise in town, and the incident ''is going to affect us for so long''.

However, she had been overwhelmed by the support shown by people from all over New Zealand since the Otago Daily Times first reported the attack.

''People have been very kind.''

Yesterday, police confirmed they had made headway with the investigation.

''Police inquiries into the incident are progressing well,'' Senior Sergeant Mark Crawford said ''We have spoken to a number of witnesses who have come forward and to almost all of those who were present at the time the incident occurred.''

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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