A violence-prevention program to honour a 19-year-old, one-punch victim is being rolled out in Queensland schools, with the Sunshine Coast the first in the state to welcome the initiative.
Seven-and-a-half years ago, Matt and Robyn Cronin had to make the agonising decision to turn off life support for their son Pat.
Pat suffered an inoperable brain bleed after being hit in the back of the head while coming to the aid of a mate during a night out in Melbourne in April 2016.
While it’s impossible to ‘move on’ from the grief, they’re ‘moving forward’ with their mission to spare other parents a similar anguish.
Now the Pat Cronin Foundation reaches about 70,000 young people each year with its Violence is Never OK presentation.
Sunshine Coast Grammar School at Forest Glen and Immanuel Lutheran College, Buderim, recently became the first schools in Queensland to embrace the foundation’s innovative presentations.
“Seven years ago when we set up the foundation, we never dreamed we’d be delivering educational presentations to around 70,000 young people each year,” Mrs Cronin says.
“There have been over 170 deaths from ‘coward punches’ in Australia since the year 2000, not to mention the thousands of people hospitalised each year due to assaults that often result in tragic, lifelong consequences for victims, families and the perpetrators.”
This year, the foundation has visited schools and sports clubs throughout Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, and the Northern Territory, as well as recently appointing staff in Queensland.
“By giving young people everywhere an understanding of Pat’s story, raising awareness of the impact of violence and offering practical tips and strategies to deal with anger and aggression, we hope to reduce the alarming statistics,” Mr Cronin says.
“The feedback we’re getting is that our programs are truly transformative in changing attitudes to violence, and we urge all schools to take advantage of them.”
Schools can find out more at patcroninfoundation.org.au.