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Hateful attack leaves 'mum of K' Rd' concerned

Sat 1 Jun 2013 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

A member of a new gay community-led K' Rd Safety Panel is severely concerned about a homophobic attack on the gay nightlife hub overnight. Victim Mitch Kirdy, 19, says he is "sore and swollen" after he and his friend were assaulted on K' Rd by two men. The attack came after they were hit with homophobic taunts. Police were quick to act and the two men were arrested. Police have not yet confirmed what charges have been laid or when the two men will appear in court. "Mum of K' Rd" Karen Ritchie, who helped organise a February community meeting about violence on K' Rd, and is a member of a community-driven Panel looking at how it can be addressed, says the attack is "bloody terrible". She is concerned about the overtly homophobic nature of the assault, as most reported over the part two years have been random assaults where gay men just happened to be the victims. "They were called faggots ... whereas with a lot of the others they weren't, that never even came out of their mouths," she says. "So I am very, very sorry that they've had to go through this. It's a terrible thing. And it's really important that they do get support." Ritchie says the full impact of the assault may take a few days to hit the victims, and she and the Panel are happy to help if they need to access counselling, or just need to talk. Ritchie has been out in patrol with police on K' Rd at night to see what they deal with at ground level. She is heartened by their response to this attack and says community feedback has been that officers have been quickly responsive to complaints about K' Rd disorder and violence. The K' Rd Safety Panel has a meeting in a couple of weeks, which Ritchie says Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, local Labour MP Jacinda Ardern and police representatives are expected to attend.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 1st June 2013 - 8:23pm

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