From the moment Thomas Kelly’s parents, Ralph and Kathy, stepped in front of the media our hearts felt for this grieving family. They had the faces of parents I’d witnessed a thousand times before, the faces of parents who have just lost their child through an act of violence.
Over the past ten years I have worked with over 1,000 individuals and families bereaved by homicide. Many of them including a one-punch fatal assault such as Thomas Kelly’s, or like my father’s.
In just a few seconds in November 2000, my family’s lives changed forever when a 26-year-old male assaulted my then 49-year-old and 55 kilogram father. I waited, as the Kelly’s will, for weeks, for months and then years before the case proceeded to the Supreme Court with the offender charged with manslaughter.
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David Mitchell. Matthew Stanley. If those names don’t mean anything to you, they belong to two people - a then 19-year-old apprentice carpenter and a 15-year-old - who have been victim to senseless violence in recent years.
Matthew didn’t live to tell the tale. David did, barely. Both their stories, and more, are circulating this morning as news.com.au launches a huge campaign against violence on our streets, in our pubs, and throughout our community: Real Heroes Walk Away. Get the full picture. Read about the issue from all angles at news.com.au.
As one victim, David Mitchell, said: “People are losing their lives over a drink being spilt, over nothing. Breathing someone’s oxygen.” And that’s true. They’re losing their lives because of the stupid, thoughtless, personal choices of their assailants. But to zoom out a little, big cultural problems have responsibility.
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