Harassed teen calls to improve train safety

Bargo’s Deborah Day is calling for better security for passengers after her daughter was harassed on a Southern Highlands train last Monday.

The mother was livid that her daughter Ashleigh was yelled at and accosted by three teenage boys when travelling home from TAFE.

The 18-year-old student boarded the train at Moss Vale station with a friend about 3pm.

“Three boys were climbing on chairs,” Ashleigh said. “All we did was look at them and as soon as we made eye contact, they came and sat next to us.

“They were swearing and carrying on. They made jokes about killing Jewish people and babies.”

She asked them to leave her alone several times and the teens laughed and ignored her.

“I put my earphones in and tried to ignore them,” she said. “They were taunting my friend until he eventually got off the train.

“They were harassing me, started a Facebook Live video and kept trying to move my laptop and bag.

“I got up, moved to a new seat and they followed me. I texted my mum and she met me at the station.”

Ashleigh said there were other passengers on the train who did not help her.

“There was a man sitting near me who could see I was in distress and he smiled at me,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.

“Nobody said anything when the boys followed me.”

Ashleigh said she did not feel threatened, but was distressed and uncomfortable during the incident.

Her mother was “disgusted” with the boys’ behaviour.

“I was furious,” Deborah said. “I had steam coming out of my ears.”

She stopped the train to speak to the driver and station guards about what had happened.

Both mother and daughter are calling for better security on trains and are asking for guards to regularly check carriages.

Deborah was dismayed no one tried to help her daughter.

“The train was full of people and no one stood up for Ashleigh,” she said. “Imagine if that was your daughter or son. There needs to be better security on trains.

“I don’t want Ashleigh to get on the train any more because I don’t feel like she will be safe.”

A NSW TrainLink spokesman said the train guard dealt with the situation.

“When the guard was alerted to anti-social behaviour on board the train, he immediately spoke to the group believed to be responsible and monitored the situation, before subsequently asking them to leave the train at the next stop,” he said.

“NSW TrainLink reported the incident to police and our security staff continued to monitor stations and trains in the area for any further problems.”

The spokesman said Southern Highlands train passengers could activate the emergency help point on board the trains or at stations to report anti-social behaviour.