Australia

'Losing too many precious kids': Parents of boy who died by suicide call for national anti-bullying laws

The suicide of 14-year-old Amy 'Dolly' Everett has triggered painful memories for Queensland parents whose son also took his life.

A Queensland couple who lost their 14-year-old son to suicide in 2016 is urging the government to pass national anti-bullying legislation.

Their call comes just days after the suicide of 14-year-old Amy "Dolly" Everett in the Northern Territory town of Katherine.

Quentin Pearson told SBS News while "everyone goes through it differently" he knows of the "horrible" time the Everett family would be experiencing.

Quentin and Michelle Pearson lost their 14-year-old son to suicide in 2016.
Quentin and Michelle Pearson lost their 14-year-old son to suicide in 2016.
SBS

Mr Pearson's son, Kodi, was also bullied before he took his own life.

Mr Pearson said national anti-bullying laws would make perpetrators "think twice about doing what they do".

"It's easy [for the bullies] to hide behind a keyboard and type whatever they want ... They need to be held accountable for what they're doing."

According to the Bully Zero Australia Foundation, Victoria is the only state where bullying is a crime.

In other states, stalking and harassment laws cover some elements of Victoria’s Act but there is no specific law that makes bullying a crime.

Michelle Pearson said the suicide of Dolly brought back many difficult memories about her son.

"Time doesn't heal, you just learn to go about your day and your life as best you can," Ms Pearson told SBS News.

She said the suicide of another 14-year-old highlighted the urgent need for national anti-bullying laws.

Kodi Pearson was a victim of bullying.
Kodi Pearson was a victim of bullying.
SBS

"If there was something in place, it might just make (bullies) think twice about what they're typing and what they're saying to ... other kids."

Ms Pearson urged politicians to "get the ball rolling" as Australia was "losing too many precious kids, way too many" to suicide.

"Numbers are rising, not decreasing. There needs to be a major change," she said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has also seized on Dolly's death to urge for more action on bullying.

"Every step must be taken to reduce the incidence of bullying, whether offline or on, and eliminate it wherever we can," Mr Turnbull wrote in a Facebook post.

"Much more work is needed from governments, health groups and the internet companies themselves to prevent cyberbullying, stop it when it occurs and to minimise its impact when it does occur."

Hundreds gathered in Katherine on Friday for a memorial for Dolly.

After the memorial, Dolly's father, Tick Everett, urged parents to talk to their children.

"Please just talk to your children and anybody else and remember, speak even if your voice shakes. Stop bullying and be kind and do it for Dolly," he said.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25).