OPINION: When faced with domestic violence, I struggled

TWO weeks ago I literally stepped into the world of domestic violence.

Driving to work on the Pacific Hwy near Glenugie, I passed a woman in tears and waving frantically for help.

After stopping the car, I headed back towards her not knowing what to expect - the possibility of someone badly ill or a dog fallen from a car both crossed my mind.

What I didn't expect was to find myself confronted by domestic violence.

It was the incident that resulted in Dwayne Winkler being sentenced this week to two years in jail.

For the sake of those involved I won't go into the details of what happened while I was there, other than to say I hope I was some help.

What struck me most about it, however, was how unprepared I was to deal with this situation.

Had it been someone having a heart attack, I would have had much more idea of what to do.

In fact I could have called on skills I learnt in life-saving lessons while still at school more than 30 years ago.

But I soon realised I wasn't sure just what I should be doing in this instance.

If I can recall from decades ago what I need to do to help someone having a heart attack, doesn't it make sense to be teaching all of us, and children in particular, about how to handle domestic violence situations.

Educating the whole community would be great, but realistically that would be an enormous task, so schools are the right place to start.

The NSW Government's Respectful Relationships classes start in Years 7-10 next year.

They are an important initiative that will hopefully produce generations of youngsters with the knowledge I wish I had that morning on the Pacific Hwy.


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