Taking your life in your hands

PARAMEDIC and father of three Matt Pickering warns young men they are risking their lives if they venture out on the town on a Saturday night.

While country areas may not be as dangerous as cities, it is only a matter of time.

“Orange has its moments,” Mr Pickering said.

He said he was motivated to speak out about the prevalence of alcohol-related violence after hearing stories from people he knows whose family members had become the victims of violence while innocently enjoying a night out.

EARLY CLOSING: DO IT FOR THE COMMUNITY

“I’m sick of it. I’ve got lots of colleagues and friends with kids in their late teens and early 20s and I think they take their life in their hands by going out on a Saturday night,” he said.

“I’ve got one mate whose son has been in several fights. For some reason he’s been picked on when he’s been doing absolutely nothing.

“I think attacks are becoming more and more unprovoked.”

Mr Pickering said not all violent incidents resulted in death

Often victims are left with injuries that impact them and their families for the rest of their lives.

“They can be left with permanent brain damage and facial scarring, with many having to have time off work,” he said.

Mr Pickering urges people to express their concern about the escalating levels of violence in our communities by rallying behind an online petition to NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell.

Mr Pickering says he has seen first-hand the problems that arise when young men drink and become aggressive, and hopes the petition will prompt the government to take a hard line when it comes to stopping the violence and punishing the perpetrators.

“Some of these people are recidivists,” he said.

“There’s a lack of significant sentencing, some of theses people should get 20 years, or be forced to wear electronic bracelets and not to not drink.”

Mr Pickering also wants the NSW government to look at a statewide rollout of the so-called Newcastle solution, which includes 1am lockouts, 3am closures and a ban on shots after 10pm, however, he believes this is only part of the solution.

Mr Pickering said it was not only young people who suffered when alcohol and violence mixed.

“I think we also need to tackle the domestic violence issue. Alcohol is a tremendous contributing factor, alcohol always makes things worse” he said.

Like many who worked in the health profession, Mr Pickering said he was often at the coalface and saw what devastation violent attacks caused.

“It’s time for it to stop, whatever it takes,” he said.

Information on the petition can be found on: www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/the-premier-of-nsw-the-hon-barry-o-farrell-mp-reform-sentencing-laws-...

tracey.prisk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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