Allem was an energetic happy teenager, an only child to loving and supportive parents. He began a friendship with the offender in October 2008. Towards the latter part of 2008 their friendship became strained and the tone ultimately changed as a result of jealousy and a falling out over a girl. The offender set out to slander Allem to his friends and school Mates. During January 2009 the friendship worsened. Allem became aware of salacious comments being made and directed towards a female friend and he took responsibility to warn his friends to leave her alone.
This escalated the bullying to spiral out of control to include hundreds of threatening text messages via Myspace against Allem. There were also threats to involve well known violent gangs. Allem attempted to apologise on many occasions, but his attempts were rejected.
On the evening of 4 February 2009 everything seemed normal. Allem had been at a friend’s place and returned home around 9.30pm. He went to his room and was engaged on his computer. He walked downstairs for a drink and a quick snack as he normally does on most evenings.
Ali (his father) suggested Allem get to bed as he had school the next morning. His parents set the alarm for 6.30am. At around 1.10am oblivious to his parents, Allem had a conversation with the perpetrator, the contents of that conversation are not known. It was following these discussions Allem wrote his suicide note. He contacted a friend and was finally dropped off to the Westgate Bridge around 4.45am on 5 February 2009. Allem jumped from the Westgate Bridge and later died of his horrific injuries.
His death was incomprehensible, the loss was overwhelming to his family and friends.
Allem’s parents Ali and Dina have campaigned to bring awareness of the dangers of cyber-bullying since Allem’s death. On 20 April 2011 a hearing was conducted at the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT). Schembri and Co Lawyers Essendon assisted the family in a successful application and Allem was formally recognized as a victim of crime – this was a landmark decision and the first in Australia.
Magistrate Capell found that the behaviour was an act of violence, he said “It’s a recognition that in my view his death was a direct result of that criminal act of stalking and I’m satisfied in this matter it’s one of those rare cases where I would have to say the connection is just inevitable.”
The decision to award Allem’s parents under this act recognises his suicide was an act of violence and will have far reaching consequences for the recognition of other victims and the assistance available to families. In short, it may allow opportunities for other grieving families to seek assistance via the Tribunal.
For the Halkic family, this decision has allowed them to restore Allem’s dignity and to provide recognition that a crime was committed against Allem. To his family and all that knew him, Allem is no longer a suicide statistic, he is a victim of crime.