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Monday, January 11, 2016

What are you gonna do when the police pull up in your driveway at 2:00 am? Huh?

As a mother of five children between the ages of 19 and 26 (4 of them boys), I find myself worrying about their safety every Friday and Saturday night when I suspect they’ve gone out on the town as most people their age would. I feel sickened every time I read or hear about young men and women struck down in the prime of their life by a coward punch when they’re out enjoying themselves. Do you worry? I dread hearing the phone ringing in the middle of the night. I jump when it rings before seven o'clock in the morning. (Stop ringing me so early, Dad!)

Do you think you'll worry when your five year old gets to this age because believe me, it will happen very quickly. 

Before you know it, the evils you anticipated from the playground bully will become much, much grimmer. The bully will be much more dangerous.

Whilst there are clever advertising campaigns educating young people about the dangers of this random type of violence, I’m afraid it doesn’t seem to be working. The problem is that when the perpetrators of these crimes are fuelled up on ice/drugs, steroids or alcohol, the advertising campaign is probably not at the forefront of their minds.

My idea of petitioning the council was to start a conversation about instigating some type of legislation so that the onus is perhaps placed on the proprietors of night clubs and other hot spots to reinforce the safety of their patrons by laying down Soft Fall in the immediate vicinity where intoxicated people are lining up to gain entrance, being refused entry, leaving after drinking for hours and where fights and arguments often start. 

Can you imagine if every night club in your area was mandated to put up a mere ten metre square of Soft Fall, how much it would actually cover? Gosh, they have it in aged care facilities, childcare centres and golf clubs for the patron's protection; surely swaying, drunken idiots warrant some protection? It may even reduce their insurance premiums.

And it’s not only the victims of coward punches who’d be afforded some protection. A vast number of scuffles and altercations occur in the area surrounding the entrances of these establishments; altercations where the police are attacked and even bouncers. I must also add that it's not just young people targetted in these random, violent attacks. Plenty of older people are assaulted as well.

It just seems like a sensible all round safeguard to me to have Soft Fall in places where crowds of people are drunk, off their faces, unco-ordinated and severely lacking in balancing skills and often very unreasonable and fudging ANGRY.

It seems as though the worst of the injuries inflicted occur, not so much from the actual punch, but from the impact when the victims hit the concrete footpath. You only have to watch the video of the young mother who suffered a coward punch in Mt Isa last weekend, just outside the entrance, to see how she sustained her skull injuries.

"The young men wheeled in before the neurosurgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital have often suffered two blows to the head.

The first is from the punch itself, the second they received when their head smashed against the hard ground. ''That second blow is often more devastating,''  The Age

There are two major factors that cause the really serious brain injuries. It is usually not the initial punch or blow, as the face and skull can adequately protect the brain from a punch – even a so-called king hit.

However, if that punch renders someone unconscious, then it is the uncontrolled fall from the standing position and the head hitting the concrete or gutter that is where the serious brain injuries occur.
Dr. Anthony Chambersa trauma surgeon at St Vincent’s hospital

Whilst laying down Soft Fall around nightclub entrances and thoroughfares may seem like implementing a ‘nanny system’ for want of a better term, and people may argue that young adults should be responsible for their own safety, the fact is that legislation was passed ensuring bike riders wear helmets and drivers wear seat belts. There is legislation to ensure our pools are adequately fenced and that the council puts up barriers to stop people accidentally falling off bridges etc. If that soft fall even stops one death wouldn’t it make it worth it? Wouldn't it?

When you think how many people just one young death affects, from parents, friends and families to the police, the paramedics, the doctors, the nurses… I think even one less death would make it worthwhile.

Punishment in the form of mandatory sentences is an excellent idea but it won’t bring those young boys who lost their lives back, will it? 

We need to do as much as possible to prevent it happening in the first place.

As a parent, I can’t think of anything worse than seeing a police car pull up and park in my drive way at two o’clock in the morning. I know what my first fear would be. It wouldn’t be good news, would it? And it could happen to anyone, anytime. It could happen to you and your loved ones.

 Naturally, I’ve discussed this with my own kids and expressed my fears. I think most parents have, but there’s not much you can do to protect your kids when most of these coward punches are thrown by surprise or from behind on unwary, innocent victims.

I’m not a politician, I’m not a medical expert and I’m not a law enforcement officer, I’m just a worried mother.

Educating children from the early years up is a great long term plan but something needs to be done for the short term outlook.

Sign my petition. Just click on the link. It takes a few seconds.

Thank you to everyone who has already signed it.

Linking up at Essentially Jess for #IBOT.