Late-night street violence is real and frightening
TODAY the Observer launches one of its most important community campaigns. It's called HandsOff (#handsoff).
The aim? To make our streets safer.
Late-night street violence is real and it's frightening.
We have already come a long way in trying to address the problem but we still see the results of alcohol-fuelled violence on our streets, in our emergency departments, police lock-ups and in the courthouse.
It's ruining lives, tearing families apart and it comes at a massive cost to our community.
Gladstone resident Matthew Matthews no longer seeks revenge for his younger brother who was killed on the streets of Ipswich two years ago; he knows it won't bring him back.
"Violence is senseless and it's selfish," he said, speaking publicly about his brother's death for the first time.
"Our whole culture of drinking needs to change."
With our national HandsOff Ambassador, former rugby league Origin and Kangaroos great Steve Renouf, our key community partners, and you, our readers, we are taking a new stand.
We're going behind the violence. We'll look at the causes, the telltale signs.
We will help empower you with the tools and information you need to help stop the violence and drive home the HandsOff message.
Be a part of the #HandsOff Promise
HERE's how you can get involved in the #HandsOff campaign.
By taking the promise, you pledge:
• Not to participate in, or condone by being silent, any form of street or late-night violence; and
• To report any incidents of such violence to the relevant establishment and authorities
It's easy to do - just visit http://bit.ly/saynotoviolence and follow the steps.
Have you, your family or friends been affected by violence? We would love you to share your story.
Your story is the most powerful way to bring about change. You can share your story easily here, on our website, via our Share Your Story page.
If you want you could also make a short YouTube video telling your story and why you support the #HandsOff campaign. Just remember to send us the link so we can share it with others.