No one has been apprehended in relation to the unprovoked assault of a 12-year-old boy in Hastings but police are "following positive lines of inquiry".
It is believed the alleged offenders, three girls and two boys, were from local high schools as some were in uniform during Friday's attack, in which Azaleas Quenton was hit from behind, before falling to the ground where his face was kicked and stomped on repeatedly.
He had just dropped a friend off at home, and was walking through Akina Park with his bike when the incident occurred.
Police youth services co-ordinator (justice) for Hawke's Bay, Ross Stewart said it appeared to be a "random" act.
"No one deserves to be the victim ... Hastings is a good place, it's full of good people, but there are some individuals who bring us all down."
There was no one answer to keeping children safe, but they could follow some simple rules to try and diminish the risk of becoming a target, such as keeping cell phones and other wanted items out of sight, ensuring they were always aware of their circumstances and sticking to public places.
Travelling in groups was another good way to avoid danger.
"Every parent should have a conversation with their kids so there is a safety plan, parents do need to talk about it, ask them 'what would you do?' ... They should work out a scenario for their kids," Mr Stewart said.
That plan may include appointing a "safe house" on their journey home from school, or advising them to enter a shop or other public place.
Members of the public could play their part by taking action if they came across a violent assault.
"Don't get involved in a fight, but hold a phone up and yell out, 'stop! I'm calling the police'," Mr Stewart said.
Azaleas' mother Cherie Irving hoped people would keep better tabs on children in the community, and be willing to help if needed.
"I just want people to be aware if something happens, and to look out for kids, if someone is walking down the road with a bleeding face, just stop," she said.
"So many people said on Facebook that they saw him walking, that's the thing that can come out of this, that someone stops, although he's had to go through this it can be an example that people need to take care of other kids."
There was still plenty of support being offered to the family, with an "overwhelming" number of Facebook messages, yet to be read.
Azaleas was on the mend, but has to visit a specialist in Napier to determine whether his nose and cheek bone are broken.