BULLY MUM

Reporter: Lynda Kinkade

Teased, tormented, now in tears -- since the start of the year 13-year-old Chloe Gill has been tortured with verbal threats, online messages and even a physical assault.

It's a situation played out in just about every school across the country but now one mother has had enough. "My daughter was bullied at school and I didn't know this was happening", said Vita Catalano.

"I think it'd been going on for about 8 months", she added.

On behalf of her teenage daughter, Vita is fighting back against school bullies -- not with punches or angry words, but with a short film.

The mother of two had the weight of the world on her shoulders, recovering from cancer, when she began to pen the story changing the gender of the victim. "The film is about a young boy who's being bullied at school, he doesn't tell his mother, his mother protects him as much as she can but doesn't know he's being bullied. None of the cast are actors, lots of them are children who've been bullied as well", Vita said.

The former actor who's appeared in shows like 'Blue Heelers' funded the film herself and says she thinks her film will have a big impact.

The main part is played by Paul Paxinos. "It's great perspective to see what it's like for kids in the victim position and are ostracised", he said.

In the film, teachers try to intervene but in reality, Vita had to find a new school for her daughter because nothing was done. "I don't believe they did enough, I would've liked to have one of the parents, the students and all sit down and talk about it", she said.

Like Vita, Miriam is now considering a new school for her daughter. "Knowing there's no help out there at all, I know why children commit suicide because of it", Miriam said.

Chloe and 15 year old sister Melanie have copped the brunt of abuse online.

This morning we approached the school for comment but both the Principal and Deputy were unavailable. We were told to expect a phone call within the hour but no one from the school has bothered to call.

"I can't comment on individual cases. It is so important that the family of the child feels supported and listened to and something is done about the perpetrator", said Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon.

The Minister and his department are now looking into the situation. "It's good for schools if there is an incident, to use that in school as an example to work with a class. If there are resources like that film available I think that is a good thing", he added.

"I don't think the teachers have got the right tools", Vita said.

She says she would like her film to be used in schools, saying: "It would be great for parents to have at home, to show their child and the repercussions could be bad you know".

And the film, "The Story of Jack", will be entered into the Cannes Film Festival. Producer Vita Catalano wants to organise meetings with education departments so this film can be shown in schools and an extract of the film is on our website at www.yahoo7.com.au/todaytonight <http://www.yahoo7.com.au/todaytonight>

Other contacts:

Vita Catalano

Vitacatalano6@hotmail.com <mailto:Vitacatalano6@hotmail.com>

<mailto:Vitacatalano6@hotmail.com>

And the Government's site: <http://www.bullyingnoway.gov.au/>