By Sophie Cornish
A South New Brighton woman suffered a badly bruised face after trying to defend her autistic son against a teenage bully.
Erica Godfrey was punched at the seaside suburb's Thomson Skate Park after confronting a teenager who had pushed and threatened her son.
Her son, Isaiah, 14, told her he had been threatened when she picked him up to go home.
Isaiah has autism, ADHD and a laryngeal papillomatosis tumour in his throat.
Godfrey then confronted the teenager, who was still at the skate park.
"I started trying to explain to the boy that my son was trying to make friends with him but because he has a throat tumour he can't talk clearly and with his autism he doesn't communicate very well," she said.
But the teenager told her he had anger problems and then punched her hard in the face.
Godfrey told him she was calling the police, to which he said: "So what, there's no cameras, you can't ID me, get over it."
Coincidentally, police were at the park dealing with another matter and Godfrey reported the teen, who fled.
However, he returned after and, after a chase, the a teenager was caught in New Brighton.
A 14-year-old boy has been referred to Youth Aid.
Godfrey now wants the city council to look at putting security cameras in the park.
"Thomson Park is the problem spot. It needs to be opened up more, some of the trees pulled back a bit and some lighting and cameras," she said.
Since posting on Facebook about the attack, Godfrey received more than 50 messages of support, including from several people saying they had had experienced similar bullying and intimidation at the park.
"Thomson Park is our local, we shouldn't have to feel intimidated to go there. A lot of people won't even go there because they feel intimidated," she said.