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In the Name of the Son

The Foundation would like to acknowledge The Courier-Mail for allowing the reproduction of this article published on September 17, 2008

In the name of the son
By: Mike O’Connor

Paul Stanley lost his son but he’s determined other teens will be saved by his anti-violence crusade

PAUL Stanley remembers the last time his son ran out on to a touch football field.“ It was on the Friday night. It was dark because some of the lights were out. He scored at the far end of the field, running across from one side to the other. He must have hit each sideline about three times. No one could tell what he was going to do,” Stanley says.“The referee told me he’d never seen a touchdown scored like that. He said he could be an international. It was the greatest game I’d ever seen him play.”

Twenty-four hours later, Matthew, aged 15, was attacked by a drunken 16-year-old outside a party and killed with a single punch.
“Matthew was punched, he was knocked to the ground, and then they laid the boot into him. He had two fractures of the skull. One from hitting the ground, the other probably from a kick and then somebody knee-dropped him as well, crushing one of his lungs,” says his father, his voice breaking as tears cloud his eyes.
It’s two years next Tuesday since Matthew’s death. In the time that has passed since then, Paul Stanley and his wife Kay have dedicated a large part of their lives to the Matthew Stanley Foundation, attempting to educate youths to the dangers of violence.
“When I give talks to kids at school, I tell them that there’s teenage talk and then there’s the language of their parents. When their parents say: `Where are you going tonight?’ and `Whose party is it?’ it doesn’t mean they don’t trust you. “I tell them that the translation of their Mum and Dad asking: `Are you going out tomorrow night?’ is: `Please God, say no, because I’m terrified.’
“When they ask: `Whose place are you going to?’ they mean: `Is it going to be close enough so that I can get there in time if something happens?’“What they’re really saying is: `You walk out the door and you leave my protective umbrella. Please, just come home!’,” he says.

Stanley’s strength is palpable. He smiles and jokes as he makes us coffee in the Thornlands home in which his son was reared. The good-looking boy with the shock of blond hair smiles down on us from photos around the living room.
His father may be strong but his grief runs deep like a subterranean stream, surfacing when it can no longer be contained. “Matty, he was too good a boy. Shit! You just don’t forget!” he says, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. “I was down at his school, Redlands College, this morning and if there was one there would have been 70 kids walk up to me and say `Hi, Mr Stanley’.
“On the Sunday (after the assault), the kids started arriving at the hospital at daylight. They just walked into the hospital room. Very few of them left. The head of the intensive care unit said they’d never seen anything like it before.”
Matthew’s grave has become a shrine, visited by the students with whom he played and studied. “I go to his grave at least once a week and there’s always fresh flowers there,” he says. “There’s a touch football on the grave the kids have used as a message board to him.
“Occasionally, there’s a new message written on it but it’s getting a bit battered after two years.”
Stanley has refused to accept government funding for the foundation, relying instead on his own fundraising. If he accepts government money, he feels he will have to dance to its tune and be bound by political correctness and he has no intention of doing that.

He describes the death of his son as the catalyst for the foundation which preaches the message that actions have consequences, a crusade that now takes him statewide.
His talks to students are powered by images of the tragedy that engulfed him. “I show the kids a DVD of the Channel 9 news reports,” he says. “It shows Matthew’s blood on the roadway, it shows the coppers holding up the football jumper with Matthew’s blood all over it, the one that one of the kids took off and put Matty’s head on. It’s pretty much in-your-face. “The idea of it is so that I can say to young people: `What I am talking to you about actually did happen’. By showing the kids the reality of violence and death, I hope to get through the message: `Hold back on your punch’.”
He does not waste his time, he says, telling them not to drink. “I never tell them not to drink, not to take drugs, not to jump into bed with someone, because they’re not going to take any notice of me. What I do say is: `Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve got to look to the consequences of your actions. If you get pissed, your judgment will be different. You could do something that will haunt you for the rest of your life’.”
Stanley concedes that if he had not begun the foundation, his life may have been easier but says he is determined to continue it for as long as he has the health and strength to do so.
The sadness, however, is never far removed. “I walk down the street and one of his friends will walk out of a shop, look at me and start crying. “It’s not fair. But to be able to say that Matt hasn’t been forgotten, as so often happens, that’s important,” he says, pausing as his voice falters. “Matt,” he says, “he was a bloody top kid.”
His sorrow turns to anger when he speaks of a justice system which he believes served him and his wife poorly. “He pleaded guilty to manslaughter,” he says of his son’s killer. “He was sentenced to five years to be released after 2 1/2 years. My son’s life was worth 2 1/2 years. That’s disgraceful. “He gets out of jail at the beginning of next year at about the same time Matt would have been starting university. Can you tell me that’s justice?

“It stinks,” he says, silence filling the room. It’s all been said. There’s nothing left to say.

Qld Police – One Punch Can Kill

The One Punch Can Kill campaign is aimed at preventing senseless violence among young people, and about stopping them from making split-second decisions that could ruin their lives or the lives of others.

It targets ‘Generation Y’ using modern media and technology, and informs today’s youth that acts of violence can have very serious and damaging consequences.

Research shows young men between the age of 15 and 25 are the most likely to be assault victims or offenders.

One Punch Can Kill is the result of recommendations from the Government’s Youth Violence Task Force, which called for a targeted media strategy to send home the message of anti-violence.

The slogan ‘One Punch Can Kill’ is a reminder of the shocking reality that simple acts of violence can have tragic consequences.

The message is that violence can result in:

A permanent criminal record
Bans on obtaining a passport and travelling overseas
Emotional trauma for family and friends of the victim and offender.
It is hoped by outlining these harsh realities for young people that they will reconsider their behaviour and choose to live a life without violence.

One Punch Can Kill focuses on a positive message of choosing options, and empowers young people to consider the consequences of their decisions, such as whether to fight or walk away.

Research has found that young males are highly influenced by the women who surround them such as friends, girlfriends, housemates, siblings and mums. The slogan “I support Blokes who don’t fight” has been created in the hope that girls and women will get on board to influence young men not to respond violently in heated situations and to emphasise the fact that is it ok to walk away.

The “One Punch Can Kill” message goes hand in hand with the Party Safe Program.

All Queenslanders are encouraged to get behind the message, and to register parties with police.

Premier Anna Bligh, Commissioner Bob Atkinson, Paul Stanley of the Matthew Stanley Foundation, and the Queensland Homicide Victims’ Support Group are among many key supporters who encourage the community to get behind the campaign to stop the violence that is ruining young lives.

Information regarding the campaign is available on the internet through MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo and Hotmail. There are also radio ads and convenience advertising in pubs and clubs and other public places.

All young people deserve to have a good start in life, and acts of violence can damage both victims’ and offenders’ chances of a positive future. One Punch Can Kill focuses on changing the attitudes of those people who are involved in violence in the hope that it will become a universal view that violence is not ok.

Journalists Awards – Trent Dalton & Daniel Hurst

THE Redland Times was judged as the Best Newspaper (circulation more than 10,000) in the 2007 Queensland Country Press Association awards announced in Brisbane on Saturday night. The newspaper also received the award for Technical Excellence (circulation over 20,000) for its production and layout.

As part of this year’s awards, reporter Daniel Hurst was runner-up in the Journalistic Excellence – Individual section for his series of reports over nine months on youth violence.

Courier Mail journalist Trent Dalton won the award for best feature article for his story Losing Matty about youth violence victim Matthew Stanley, published in Qweekend magazine.

Trent Dalton was nominated for the Queensland Media Awards for his article (which is published on this website) titled “Losing Matty”.

The heart-wrenching story on the life and tragic death of Matthew Stanley was published in the QWeekend magazine on February 24 this year.

Trent’s story is nominated in the category Best Newspaper Feature Article. Other contenders for the category include Amanda Watt and Matthew Condon from The Courier-Mail and Tony Koch from The Australian.

The awards were announced at a presentation dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday August 25.

Gala Sports Auction Dinner

The Foundation would like to acknowledge The Redland Times for allowing the reproduction of this article published in the Redland Times newspaper.

Gala sports auction night raises $34,000 for Stanley Foundation

A FOUNDATION dedicated to the battle gainst youth violence raised about $34,000 at  gala auction night at irromet Winery, Mt Cotton last week.

The Matthew Stanley Foundation was set up after the bashing death of 15-year-old sporting enthusiast Matthew Stanley outside a party at Alexandra Hills nearly two years ago.Dozens of donated items were put up for auction including a signed 2008 Queensland State of Origin jersey, a soccer ball signed by David Beckham and the
Manchester United team, a Broncos jersey signed by the 2008 premiership-winning team, and a Socceroos jersey. These four items sold for $4000 or more at auction. Many of the 141 guests also donated money.

Founder Paul Stanley said the new funds would allow the foundation to develop a
safety education plan and DVDs for distribution to schools. “I was so surprised at
the support we got – the amounts that were paid for some of the items were incredible,” he said.

Brisbane twists its way to new world record

Brisbane twists its way to new world record
Tony Moore | May 5, 2008 – 12:46PM

The Foundation would like to acknowledge the Brisbane Times for allowing the reproduction of this article published in the Brisbane Times on May 5, 2008.
What would drag hundreds of young people inside a large sports complex to tackle the world’s largest Twister mat?

The chance to make their way into the Guinness Book of Records, that’s what.

This morning, more than 200 people did just that.

Twisted Events ’08 set out a twister mat 28.56 metres long and 9.48 metres wide inside the Hibiscus Sports Complex at Mt Gravatt.

That smashed the previous world record set in 2005, for the world’s largest-ever twister mat.

In 2005, the record was 27.1 metre by 8.43 metres, so Twisted Events ’08 smashed the 2005 record by more than a metre on all sides.

The event also raised money for the Matthew Stanley Foundation, set up to raise awareness of the stupidity of teen violence.

Redlands youngster Matthew Stanley was killed in September 2006 when he was punched outside a party.

Matthew’s father, Paul Stanley, was on hand today to talk to youngsters about the stupidity of teen violence.

The Twisted Events ’08 twister mat challenge is another in a long, line of community events where Mr Stanley gives young people an idea of what might happen after a senseless act of violence.

“The thing is we are generating an awful lot awareness,” he said.

“The thing about youth violence is that it can impact on anyone, whether they are a young person, or a grandmother. Everyone has a young person who could be affected.”

The Matthew Stanley Foundation has not courted contributions from the State Government, so it can keep a measure of control over how the money they raise is used.

Today there are t-shirts, wrist bands and information packs, produced using money donated from private businesses.

It has allowed Mr Stanley to work on this project full-time, with a work colleague helping run his business.

He has a realistic, long-term vision for the Matthew Stanley Foundation and spends a lot of time talking at Queensland schools.

“You can never stop the violence. All you can do is make a difference,” he said.

“All you can do is try to show young people the implications of what a single punch might be.

“It could end up like my son, with someone in the grave.”

Information from or telephone 3821 6700.

One Punch Can Kill

One punch can kill, youth told
2:51p.m. 6 February 2008
By Mark Furler

Police Minister Judy Spence today launched the second phase of the One Punch Can Kill campaign which aims to teach young people the consequences of violence.

Phase two features a dedicated website, interactive game, videos, bus advertising and a large inflatable display to be used at events such as music festivals.

“As Chair of the Government’s Youth Violence Task Force, it became clear that many young men have no idea that a split second decision to engage in violence can destroy lives,” Ms Spence said.

“They just don’t realise they can kill someone or be killed themselves – devastating family and friends.

“Even if the violence doesn’t end in death they can end up with a criminal record, spend time in jail, pay big fines, and lose employment prospects or the chance to travel overseas,” Ms Spence said.

A key recommendation from the Youth Violence Task Force was to undertake an education campaign, aimed at Generation Y, about the consequences of violence.

This campaign has been specifically designed to reach Generation Y and includes the use of the internet and new media.

The first phase, launched in December, included radio ads, convenience advertising in pubs and clubs, and internet sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo and Hotmail.

“Our internet banner ad has already appeared more than two million times on Facebook and one million times on MySpace.

“Already, just through word of mouth, almost 500 people have joined the One Punch Can Kill Group on Facebook.

“Phase two of the campaign involves taking the online education to a new level with a dedicated One Punch Can Kill website which includes an online interactive game. The concept of the game is for young men to reach their girl without getting into a fight or drinking too much.

“The website will also stream two videos which show what could happen if a young man fights and what could happen if he walks away. Gen Y does not respond well to being told what to do. This approach gives the information and allows young people to make their own mind up.

“These videos will also be available to television stations as community service announcements.

“An 11 metre by 7 metre outdoor inflatable display has also been developed to be used at events that appeal to Gen Y such as music festivals and rural shows. One Punch Can Kill promotional materials such as button badges and wrist bands will be handed out to people who visit the display.

“There will also be advertising, on the backs of buses and in bus interiors, featuring prominent young women and the slogan ‘I support blokes who don’t fight’. This is based on research that shows young males are particularly influenced by the women in their lives such as friends, girlfriends, housemates, siblings and Mums.

Ms Spence thanked the Matthew Stanley Foundation and the Queensland Homicide Victims’ Support Group for their ongoing efforts to raise community awareness of this issue.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Kathy Rynders said: “The One Punch Can Kill message will also go hand in hand with the Party Safe message. I encourage all people who are hosting parties to register them with police.

“All Queenslanders, particularly young men in the 15-25 age group need to realise the potential consequence of violence, particularly when alcohol is involved.

“It’s ok to walk away from a confrontation.

“Time and time again police see the results of one moment of madness – one punch which leads to devastating consequences.

“This is not for shock value – one punch really can kill,” Ms Rynders said.

Protect Our Children

Article, ‘Protect Our Children’ by Danney Lannen, first published on 3 December2007 in the Geelong Advertiser (Regional Daily) Edition 1, is reproduced by permission – thank you to the Geelong Advertiser.

Geelong Advertiser (Regional Daily), Edition 1 – MON 03 DEC 2007

By: DANNY LANNEN, The Drink And Us

A bereaved father wants Geelong and Victoria to sit up and listen to his message that alcohol doesn’t belong in the hands of kids and that sometimes senseless tragedy can result. DANNY LANNEN reports …

PAUL Stanley interrupted another’s expression of condolence for the death of his son Matthew at 15. He expressed his thanks and then let his heart speak.

He said what he felt about a teenager who would terminate the life of another with violence and then he pointed to a problem stalking communities country-wide.
“The thing is that alcohol was a bit part of what happened to Matty,” he said.
“Where does somebody of 16 get that alcohol? They’ve got to get it from somewhere.’”

And so a father living immeasurable loss in Queensland shared his powerful message with the people of Geelong and Victoria and urged them to act on the sorry toll from the supply of alcohol to willing, vulnerable kids.

“It can happen to you you know, that’s really what it boils down to,” Mr Stanley said. “When I was growing up in New Zealand the drinking age was 21, nowadays because they’ve brought the drinking age back to 18 an under-ager is a baby.
“You see a 13-year-old walking down the street p-ssed. Somebody is giving these children alcohol.” Matthew Stanley died within 24 hours of being punched outside a party in suburban Brisbane in September last year. A boy, 16 at the time of the offence, was convicted of his manslaughter and sentenced to jail with 2 1/2 years minimum.

Almost 1000 people attended Matthew Stanley’s funeral and a website now stands in his memory and against alcohol-related violence.

Mr Stanley challenged Geelong to stand up to senseless human waste by calling for legislative reform. He spoke as a Queensland Youth Violence Task Force report tabled late last week proposed 16 legislative changes, including action on supply and marketing of alcohol to young people and alcohol education and harm minimisation.
Mr Stanley was a member of the task force and said the recommendations had immediately grabbed attention. “It’s not a political statement but I think there’s a bit in the fact that our Premier Anna Bligh got a copy of the recommendations on Tuesday morning and on Wednesday turned around and said they were going with it,” he said. “They have already committed $800,000 to an advertising campaign about One Punch Can Kill and associated things with youth violence and drinking, and that’s a big call.”

Geelong parents are among people agitating for legislative change to make it illegal for adults to supply alcohol to minors who are not their children. They hope to target teen parties where kids are allowed to drink and hosts can legally supply them with alcohol. Lara mum and campaigner Helen Torpy urged Victoria to move in the same direction. “This is such a big step,” Ms Torpy said. “Hopefully our state will follow and specially because Mr Brumby has announced plans for a new alcohol task force.
“I don’t know anyone who would possibly object to bringing in this legislation to protect our kids.” Premier John Brumby announced plans for a Victorian alcohol abuse task force last month but has not revealed its plan of attack. Mr Stanley urged parents to be game enough to make a difference for their kids. “Parents have got to take a step back and don’t be bullied,” he said. “Say no, they’re not having it and if they’re having a party for a 16-year-old son or daughter say it’s alcohol-free, they’re under-age. “And don’t let kids walk in with bottles of Coke under their arms, and go and check the bottom of the garden where they might have been passing during the day and chucked grog over the fence.” Mr Stanley despaired at the thought of parents packing kids off to schoolies celebrations with boot-loads of booze and had strong advice for kids considering drinking too much too soon.

“Be bloody careful, look after your friends, look after your mates because being dead is a long, long time,” he said.