Teenager didn't feel safe at school, inquest told

A "kind and gentle" teenager who took his own life had been bullied and assaulted and didn't feel safe at school, an inquest has been told. 

Silas Eben Paul, 14, died in hospital on April 8, 2022, after being found unconscious at his home at Lauderdale on Hobart's outskirts. 

An expected three-day inquest, which began on Wednesday, will examine reporting obligations and information sharing between officials. 

The inquest was told Silas had been bullied online and physically assaulted several times by his peers as well as older kids including a 17-year-old. 

"He was the kid being picked on by a group of guys that were, for whatever reason, out to get him," his dad, Simon Paul, said.

Silas’ mother Sylvia Nielsen said she was worried about him attending Taroona High School based on her experience there as a student. 

Ms Nielsen said Silas suffered a swollen nose and black eye during an assault in the Hobart CBD in 2021. 

"His choice to end his life was (an) act of last resort given he wasn't safe at school," she said, claiming adults in positions of power should have done more to protect him. 

Ms Nielsen said Silas was kind, gentle and easygoing with a great sense of humour and described by teachers as an asset in class. 

She listed his extensive hobbies including bushwalking, cooking, fishing and being on the water. 

"He really cared about people and was always the one to give me a hug every morning … he was such a joy," she said. 

Mr Paul described Silas as witty, adding he once wore a skirt to get a reaction from baby boomers and was also popular with girls - attention that was flattering but also made his son a target. 

"He will be forever in our hearts. He deserved better than what happened," Mr Paul said. 

Counsel assisting the coroner Madeleine Wilson said Silas became image obsessed in grade 7 and was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia but was a healthy weight in 2022.

The inquest was told Silas had become "addicted" to social media, but Ms Nielsen said her son had "turned a corner" in the months before his death. 

Lifeline 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)

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