Attack victim's father: 'The vigilante stuff needs to stop'

The father's name has been changed at his request.

The father of an Invercargill man who was attacked by a group of youths last week has serious concerns about the attackers' safety.

Video emerged on Friday of the group intimidating then attacking Kevin's son as he left a dairy on Thursday evening.

But while his son was the one hurt, he's concerned about the impact the online backlash has had on the youths.

"What I've been shown, some of this stuff, I'm quite scared for some of these kids really," he told Newshub.

"All you need is some idiot going too far... who could seriously hurt somebody, I mean that's just ridiculous. These kids just need sorting out, it's been blown way out of proportion."

Among the comments he's seen death threats, vile abuse and people encouraging the youths to commit suicide.

Kevin says they've also been physically abused at their school and "given the old whack or two".

For a period there was a Facebook page listing the names, phone numbers and home addresses of the alleged attackers. It's since been taken down but Kevin says it's led to abuse directed at one of their grandparents, who they live with.

"I mean that's ridiculous, it's just over the top," he said.

He's also worried the attack and subsequent public reaction will put the youths on a bad path, hoping instead there will be an intervention of some kind.

"There needs to be some sort of redirection, something to help these kids get on the right track," he said.

"Before they get too many black marks then that affects them for the rest of their life. There's no reason why they can't be good, productive members of society."

One of the youths, believed to be the instigator, is currently being spoken to by police.

"This vigilante stuff needs to stop. The police, they're doing their job, and they just need to be left to get on with it," Kevin said.

Thursday's attack wasn't a first for the group. A local who filmed the assault and posted it online under an anonymous name told Newshub she witnessed the same group targeting three older teenagers earlier in the month.

Another said it was a "daily occurrence" and left her fearing for her safety.

"These kids have made some bad mistakes, because they've done it to a few other people as well, but they just need redirection, some direction and support, to make the changes. It needs to happen," Kevin said.