Community backs Illawarra girl with Down syndrome bullied by neighbours

Sophie Mason with her daughter, Faith, who has been the target of attacks by neighbourhood bullies. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Sophie Mason with her daughter, Faith, who has been the target of attacks by neighbourhood bullies. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

''It's a challenge to see if they can make me cry''

A worried mum has succeeded in crowdsourcing funds to build a protective fence around her Farmborough Heights house after neighbourhood vandals pelted her home with eggs and faeces and repeatedly bullied her teen daughter, who has Down syndrome.

Donations to Sophie Mason's "bully barrier" campaign surged past the $700 target - to more than $2000 - on Tuesday evening after word spread of the mother of four's troubles.

Sophie Mason with her daughter, Faith, who has been the target of attacks by neighbourhood bullies. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Sophie Mason with her daughter, Faith, who has been the target of attacks by neighbourhood bullies. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Miss Mason told the Mercury her 15-year-old daughter Faith could no longer play in the front yard of their home because tormenters would call her "a retard" and make derogatory faces and noises.

Supporters of the family took to the Mercury's website and Miss Mason's gofundme.com page to offer kind words and donations of between $10 and $100, which will go towards building a fence and a row of trees around two exposed boundaries.

Miss Mason said the support had buoyed her and Faith, making them realise "there are people out there who care".

"Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity and making my little girl smile," Miss Mason said, when asked what she would like to tell her supporters.

"Please, next time you see people being bullied, speak up, because often the silence is as bad as the people that are doing it."

An online comment from "andrewp" was typical of supportive responses offered to the family.

"How sad and pathetic some people are," he wrote.

"Dear Faith, you are one cool brave young lady ... Stand tall young lady, be strong and know one day these people won't be able to look you in the eyes because of the shame they have brought upon themselves and their family."

Meantime, Sergeant Matt Brophey, Wollongong crime co-ordinator, told the Mercury some of the incidents Miss Mason described were criminal, but difficult to prove.

"If an investigation identifies who has egged the house, thrown faeces, or set fire to objects, those issues are criminal and can be prosecuted," Sgt Brophey said.

"The difficulty [is in] actually being able to identify who it is that has done it."

Sophie Mason with her daughter, Faith, who has been the target of attacks by neighbourhood bullies. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Sophie Mason with her daughter, Faith, who has been the target of attacks by neighbourhood bullies. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

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