A hate crime investigation has been launched after a 15-year-old boy was assaulted and subjected to homophobic abuse in Fife.
The 15-year-old boy’s mum has been left terrified after three people attacked her son from behind and punched and kicked him on the ground.
Police are investigating the assault, which happened in St Andrews on Wednesday afternoon, saying they are treating it as a hate crime.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, did not require medical treatment but has suffered emotionally, saying people hate him for being gay.
Attackers reportedly followed teenager
He was attacked when getting off a bus on City Road in the town.
The victim’s mum says her son was subjected to abuse on the bus and decided to get off to escape the harassment.
The attackers then reportedly followed the teen off the bus and attacked him from behind.
She said: “There were three of them, they attacked him from behind, he fell on the ground and hit his head.
“They punched him in the face and started kicking him on the ground.”
‘It’s really scary’
The mother said people who witnessed the assault managed to separate her son from the attackers.
She added: “It’s really upsetting.
“I’ve been young myself and I can understand that kids sometimes can be a bit cruel towards anyone who is different but the whole violence, that’s really scary.
“It could have been much worse and the idea of him not being able to walk around the street in St Andrews of all places – it’s not something that ever crossed our minds.
“It just doesn’t happen that often, it’s just really scary.
‘My son doesn’t hold back who he is’
“My son came from an environment where we never had a closet for him to come out of, we were always very open and understanding.
“For him to be faced with that sort of prejudice to the point where he says: ‘people hate who I am to the point that they’re willing to beat me up’ – I think that’s really serious emotionally for anyone who is going through teenage years and already dealing with homosexuality, which is a lot of the times a sensitive issue.
“I think that, if anything, that made me think: ‘are these people telling my son that he should be in the closet?’
“My son doesn’t hold back who he is and I think that’s the problem, is he going to feel like he has to hold back from being himself?”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 5pm on Wednesday October 27, 2021, police were called to a report that a 15-year-old boy had been assaulted and subjected to homophobic abuse in City Road, St Andrews, earlier that afternoon.
“The youth did not require medical treatment.
“Officers are treating the incident as a hate crime and enquiries are continuing.”