Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has paid tribute to tragic Dolly Everett – who took her own life after being viciously bullied.
In a heartfelt statement, Mr Turnbull – who is a father and grandfather himself – said of Dolly: ‘You are loved and you will never be forgotten’.
14-year-old Dolly – who was once the face of Akubra Hats – took her own life days after sketching a haunting pencil drawing featuring the words: ‘Speak even if your voice shakes’.
A public memorial was held on Friday at the Casuarina Street Public School in Katherine.
Paying tribute to Dolly, Mr Turnbull said his ‘heart breaks for Dolly and her family’.
‘From pain and loss we must renew our commitment to say no to bullying.
'Any life lost to bullying, especially someone as young as Dolly, just 14 years old, is one too many,’ he wrote.
‘Dolly’s passing highlights the devastating impact that bullying can have on its victims.
‘Every step must be taken to reduce the incidence of bullying, whether offline or on, and eliminate it wherever we can.
‘The rise of online social media platforms present new challenges. Cyber bullies can harass and intimidate their victims from any location and at any time of the day.’
He went on to say the office of the eSafety Commissioner was tackling this issue head on.
‘But much more work is needed, from governments, health groups and the internet companies themselves, to prevent cyberbullying, stop it when it occurs and to minimise its impact when it does occur,’ Mr Turnbull admitted.
‘Lucy and my thoughts are with Dolly’s parents, Kate and Tick, family and friends at this very sad time.’
Dolly’s devastated family have worked hard to raise awareness into the issue after her death.
They have established a charitable foundation – Dolly’s Dream – aimed at helping others suffering from bullying.
Visit www.esafety.gov.au for more information or to access the complaints service for young Australians who experience cyberbullying.
If you have been affected by the issues raised in this story and need someone to talk to, help is available from Lifeline on 13 11 14.