"Our son is no coward, but he can't take on 15 people."
WHEN Mellita and Ken Phillis' son was bashed by a group of five teenagers in the Bundaberg CBD six months ago it was a mortifying experience for the whole family.
"My son felt very alone and he felt he had no support," Mellita said.
For Trevor and Kerry Wone it was the same story.
"For two years our son wouldn't come out of his room because he was too scared to go anywhere," Trevor said.
"Our son is not a coward - but he can't take on 15 people."
Both families say they are now constantly vigilant for the actions of youths who frequent Targo St.
Yesterday they held a meeting at Alexandra Park to get the ball rolling on a holistic solution to the problem.
"It's getting out of control," Mellita said.
"From McDonald's down to Dan Murphy's, they gather in parks and stormwater drains, they drink, they throw rocks at cars, and they assault people."
"It's terrorism in Bundaberg," Ken said.
Trevor Wone, an indigenous elder originally from Innisfail, said he was seeing old problems from his home town repeating.
"I've spoken to elders here who say that the kids just won't listen," he said.
"As an indigenous person I'm also disgusted when the finger gets pointed solely at us - it's white kids too, it's young girls, even adults."
Two of the people who set upon the Phillis' son were 18 and 19 years old.
Detention should be a last resort, in favour of courses that could set young people on a better path, Kerry Wone said.
"We need to channel these kids' anger into something constructive," Trevor said.
"And we need the law and police to stand behind us."
Both families say police have told them "their hands are tied" to tackle the issue as a whole because while it is widely discussed across social media in Bundaberg, few victims report their experiences - often out of fear of retribution.
They plan to start a petition to lobby state government, local members, councils and police to implement a youth curfew, as anti-crime advocates in Townsville are now doing.
"Up in Townsville they have petitioned for a curfew and something like that should be looked at in Bundaberg," Mellita said.
"A lot more could be done."
They also plan to start a community support group with a Facebook page to "give people the courage to speak out".
"You can be anonymous but we need people to tell their stories," Trevor said.