More females than ever before are being imprisoned for physical assaults and stories of young girls fighting are becoming more common. Insight at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.
Paige, 16, is protective of her older sister Bonni, 20, who says she is often bullied by other girls. Often, Paige's anger becomes physical.
“The most recent fight I had, someone was saying some really nasty things about around my sister Bonni,” she tells SBS's Insight.
Paige and Bonni drove over to the person's house to “sort it out” but the girl ended up hitting Paige with her phone.
“So then I just retaliated,” says Paige. “I slammed her head onto her car window and broke her wing off her car and ripped most of her hair out… she was pretty much a mess.
“I was pretty happy with myself to be honest because it needed to be done.”
Although males are responsible for most violent assaults in Australia, the Australian Institute of Criminology has reported an increase in violent offences committed by females, many of them aged 14-25. Moreover, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found that more females than ever before are being imprisoned for physical assaults.
As revealed on Insight, fights and violent assaults are usually sparked by trivial matters – a nasty comment on Facebook, rumours in the school yard, bumping into someone in a nightclub and, according to 14-year-old 'Lea', boredom.
'Lea', who cannot be identified, says she gets into fights about three times a week and has a criminal record. She has attacked people she knows, as well as “randoms” in the street. In one incident, she robbed and bashed a woman out of sheer boredom.
“We had nothing to do one night and my cousin suggested that we do it,” she tells Insight's Jenny Brockie. “I was sitting on her at first and when my cousin got her bag, she fell to the ground. To shut her up, we booted her [in] the face and the body.”
'Lea' and her friends film fights on their phones and even organise fights via Facebook.
For many, it's no surprise cyberbullying plays a crucial role in pushing young girls over the edge.
Andrew Rogers, Deputy Principal at Westfields Sports High, believes avoiding physical fights is increasingly difficult with the prevalence of social media.
“I don't want to single out Facebook as evil here, but unfortunately that's where most of it does happens,” he says.
“A single comment's made and a dozen people might comment on that very quickly, and the original disagreement between the two kids all of a sudden escalates out of all proportion.
“Then when they come into contact … that's when they have the conflict.”
With the incessant bullying on social media, Paige and Bonni both admit that avoiding physical fights is difficult.
“I've had to delete Facebook that many times it's not funny,” says Bonni. “It is a bad place for bullying, Facebook is definitely the worst.”
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