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Violence from the offender's perspective

About - Alcohol (Drug) Fueled Violence
 
 
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Violence from the offender's perspective

Youth Justice Conferencing is a response to youth offending that aims to educate offenders and reduce crime, and notably offences of violence against other young people that can cause a brain injury or other disability.


It brings together the young person, their family and the victim (if they wish to attend) as well as a police officer. The aim of the Youth Justice Conference is for the victim, the young person who commits the offence, and their family, to talk about the offence and come up with an agreement about how that young person can begin to repair the harm caused by the offence. Synapse staff members have become involved in recent conferences in Queensland.


We would like to share with you the stories of two teenagers who came to terms with the impact of violence. The events that follow started with one punch . . .


JEROME'S STORY

Recently an event took place involving an assault between me (Jerome) and (Ahmed)*.


This event took place in a suburban high school and was witnessed by many and effected a lot of people. The events that followed all started with one punch…


It was a normal school day in a suburban high school, the sun was shining, and Jerome was completing his daily routine of studying in class. When it came time for lunch the day took a horrendous turn for the worst. Jerome had heard some news involving his friend Sean and Ahmed. This news made Jerome very angry and he felt the need to relinquish his anger out on Ahmed by confronting him. As Jerome attempted to confront Ahmed, Ahmed fled up the stairs where Jerome chased him. As both Jerome and Ahmed got to the top of the stairs Jerome shouldered Ahmed who then fell to the ground. Jerome then repeatedly punched him in the face.


A week suspension from school followed this incident. I thought that this was the end of it. Some three months later I was summoned to the local police station and questioned about the incident. I soon realised the impact of the incident was greater than I could have imagined. Over the three months I had time to think about my actions and regretted what I had done. But it wasn't until I had the opportunity to listen to people from Synapse that it really hit home. It was explained to me how one punch can change the life of not just the victim, but also the many people in the victims life - family, friends and work. The effects of that one punch - whether it is to the head or not - could be the cause of crippling a life.


You probably think that you are safe not aiming for the head, but think again. Let's say that you didn't aim for the head, and instead, like I did, shouldered Ahmed who then hit his head on something either on his way down or as he landed hard on a surface, or possibly even rolled back down the stairs, hitting his head repeatedly until he landed on the bottom. I didn't set out for this to happen, but that wouldn't be the point. The point is that there are many possibilities that could come from one action, and we cannot control these possibilities. What we can control is how we handle things in the beginning. I could have caused Ahmed severe brain damage, or even death.


I listened to the ladies from Synapse explain to me the difficulties some of the people the work with have. How this one punch can change a person's life, their personality. I had never thought of this. I only ever thought that a physical incident would lead to a physical injury and when that injury recovered, things would go back to normal. I didn't realise how a severe head injury of one person affected the lives of many. I feel that my independence is a really important part of who I am and something that I have tried to gain. I didn't realise that this particular incident could take away from someone the very thing that I am searching for.


Through the aftermath of the event I have learnt a lot about the consequences of an assault and how I could have done things differently. I was lucky that things turned out okay for Ahmed. But thinking of the consequences like getting in trouble with the law, is just a small part of it. Having to live with knowing that I was responsible for taking away someone's life or causing the victim severe brain damage or worse, death would make it very hard for me to wake up everyday and be proud. Taking someone's life, causing them permanent disability… that's not okay.


I have learnt to communicate with people if I have a problem with them instead of jumping to conclusions and acting out violently.
This event has changed my life dramatically and changed my views on many things. If I was to reverse time I would because I deeply regret what has transpired.


- Jerome *(names have been changed)

 

 

MICHAEL'S STORY
After having my youth conference and listening to what was said, how hitting or punching someone in the head can cause brain damage, I was so amazed. I didn't realize how this could impact someone and the traumatic dramas that it could involve. Not only the victim but the entire family has to go through it.


I am so very saddened the way I treated my victim, knowing that I could have caused him and his family so much grief if anything serious had happened to him. Not only that, I wish to this day that I had never performed the action that I did.


I would not wish anyone to be violent against any person, as the result of assaulting a person can be very damaging and circumstances are not very good if you should hit a person in the head.


I listened to those who were present at the conference, the police officer and the lady who has a lot to do with brain injuries [Synapse Community Response Officer]. They explained to me that it's not always the hitting (not that hitting is okay) but often what happens when the victim falls, and what they might hit whilst falling to the ground, which causes the damage of the head.


I am trying very hard to this day to be a better person, and to stop and think before reacting like I did that dreadful day that turned my life upside down. I know the grief I have put my family through, especially my mum - it's not very good, and I do not want to travel down that path again.
Once again I do apologise to my victim and sincerely hope within him he can forgive me one day.


To all who attended my conference I thank you very much in educating me on how brain damage can be caused

 

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