Advice for parents to help their children avoid the scourge of cyber-bullying (Video courtesy of Les Twentyman www.20thman.com.au)
‘Best Enemies’ a film about cyber bullies to be used in anti-bullying programs here and overseas.
THE parents of Dannii Sanders say it was the system – not Facebook – that let down their troubled 14-year-old daughter.
The stunning teen, who was bullied on the internet, took her own life on Tuesday in Caloundra, on the Sunshine Coast.
Her mother Christine and younger sister Monique, 12, discovered her in the bathroom following days of violent and aggressive behaviour.
Dannii’s death sparked an outpouring of grief among hundreds of friends in Sydney, which she had left days earlier to join her parents in Queensland.
Despite the cruel and vicious online taunts, Ray and Christine Sanders said Dannii was unfazed by the internet attacks and “gave it as good as she got it”.
Dannii’s real problem, they said, had gone undiagnosed and no authorities would help assess her.
The worried parents had begged medicos in two states to admit Dannii to hospital but were told she would have to go of her own free will.
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Mrs Sanders twice submitted reports to the Department of Child Safety in NSW but received the same response.
Police in NSW and Queensland said their hands were tied.
“If we had the right to say we want her taken in, she’d probably be here today,” Mrs Sanders said. It’s not the police or the ambos, it’s the framework they have to work in. It’s the law. Dannii was a victim of the system.”
Tragically, Mrs Sanders said she was almost relieved when she found her daughter on Tuesday because she thought it might finally bring her help.
But it was too late.
“I don’t believe she wanted to die. She needed help and no one would help, and now I have all the help in the world – inundated,” Mrs Sanders said.
The grieving parents say it was only three months ago that their beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter changed into a wild, violent and troubled teen.
Her personality swung from highs to lows.
She dyed her hair black, ran away from home, wagged school and hung around with the wrong crowd.
Mrs Sanders said the Dannii with black hair and hard eyes was not the Dannii they knew.
“She was blonde, with blue eyes, almost like purple and they sparkled when she was happy,” she said.
“She would eat and sleep and dance to music videos and bounce on her trampoline.”
Mr Sanders added: “She was like a frog, most innocent, very naive.”
Only last year Dannii travelled to Japan to represent Australia in trampolining, the sport that was her world for many years.
But towards the end of her life, she was banging her head against walls, stealing and hitting her mother.
Mrs Sanders, a hairdresser, said she wanted to bleach her daughter’s hair back to its natural colour for the funeral in Sydney on Wednesday which is also her father’s birthday.
The family will await a report from the coroner.
For support and information about suicide prevention, contact Lifeline 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au or the SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263) or www.sane.org