EVERYONE has a story about a coward punch affecting them or someone they know, Steve Layt says.
"There's pockets of angry kids in Melbourne and others in the bush," the Pat Cronin Foundation's partnership manager says.
But coward punches happen everywhere, Mr Layt adds.
The not-for-profit is ramping up its efforts to end coward punches in central Victoria and is in the midst of negotiations with community groups about partnerships throughout the region.
It is also hoping to ramp up the number of free presentations it gives schools, sports clubs and other groups in Victoria this year.
Presenters want to get to at least 400 schools and 100 sporting or community groups statewide this year.
They could not come a moment too soon, Mr Layt says.
"Since COVID the online bullying has stopped being confined to the Saturday and Sunday. Young people are away for long periods and the bullying has built up," he says.
"There's a lot of angry young men and women coming together, hence you get larger clashes."
Young people need more information about the devastating consequences of coward punches and the tools to make wise decisions, Mr Layt says.
They and the wider community need to be empowered to make violence socially unacceptable, he says.
Even at his own community football club, three people have been coward punched so far this year.
They were not killed or hospitalised.
Pat Cronin was not so fortunate.
He was struck in the head while trying to help a mate during a violent 2016 incident. It caused an inoperable brain bleed.
His life support machine was switched off two days later.
The foundation's presentations to young people are powerful, Mr Layt says.
"We've had situations where a presentation has had an immediate effect on the schoolyard. It's such an emotive and powerful presentation.
"There's always tears in the audience. You can hear a pin drop."
The foundation is currently searching for partners to help it ramp up Bendigo activities.
It relies on groups like the Barry Plant real estate company and Le Pine Funerals to help it end coward punches.
Anyone who might like to learn more or help the foundation's work can get in touch at email@example.com
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