To all our dear friends and partners,
We would sincerely like to thank all of our partners who have so generously given so much of their time to support our foundation and cause. Without your help none of what we have achieved in the last 12-months would have been feasible. We are truly blessed to have your support and recognise every single persons input as invaluable.
The board of directors of the foundation will focus our attention on changing attitude in our youth to pre-fuelling, binge-drinking and the current opinion that its "cool to be drunk". Associated within this is alcohol-fuelled violence which led to the tragic death of our beautiful son Thomas in July 2012 that has left our family decimated.
With all your combined help it is worthwhile mentioning some of the key milestones in 2013:
1. Commenced working on the legal establishment of the Foundation, October, 2012.
2. Incorporation of the Foundation with ASIC on 17th December, 2012.
3. Foundation web site went live March 2013.
4. DGR status granted on 22nd July, 2013.
5. newDemocracy research approved and funded by NSW Govt. & City of Sydney – August 2013, to commence February 2014.
6. The Auditor General announces on 06th August that the annual cost of alcohol abuse in NSW costs the Government $1b per year; Including social cost this escalates to over $3.87B.
7. Official launch of the Foundation - 18th September 2013, Star Event Centre Sydney
8. October – November: working with the City of Sydney on increasing CCTV in the Sydney CBD and surrounding areas, together with the TAKE Kare Safe Space.
9. 11th November 2013, NSW Attorney General, Hon. Greg Smith, announces the new “One-Punch law”.
10. Police "Operation Unite" - over the weekend of 14/15th December, rates NSW as the number one State effected by alcohol-fuelled violence, with 616 people arrested in NSW & VIC.
It's clear where our attention should be focused:
* Greater awareness and education in the community relating to alcohol harm
* Review of alcohol and promotion that is clearly targeted at youth and our sports codes
* Regulatory review of current alcohol policies including: hours of operation, licensing, taxation and availability
* Responsibility and respect within youth on the rest of the community
Lastly and most importantly - we believe there is a need to change behavioural attitude in our youth towards alcohol and excessive drinking. In order to achieve behaviour / social change there has to be fundamental additions to the NSW Sentencing Act 1999, to incorporate three key areas:
1. Whereby any crimes committed whilst affected by alcohol or drugs are identified as a "mandatory aggravating factors" that must be taken into account on sentencing. This will serve to send the right messaging of the primary role that alcohol plays in violence and crimes within NSW and require sentences to reflect this aggravating feature.
2. The aggravating factor of "conditional liberty" expanded to any "good behaviour bond".
3. Youth and the inability of a 'victim' to defend themselves as being aggravating factors that must be taken into account.
We have asked the NSW Government to incorporate these three key elements into the Act. With this in place, we would hope to see change in values that society places on alcohol. Importantly these additions would be incorporated within all areas of criminal activity.
On the 08th November, our family was left battered and bewildered at the sentencing in the NSW Supreme Court of Thomas' offender. We sat together as a family for Thomas that day in a building that we believed was there to provide us with support. An hour later, we left shocked, dismayed, alone and abandoned that the justice system had so badly let Tom down. It has made us more resilient and stronger to fight another day.
2014 will be a turning point in the foundation as we look to find a university partner to assist us in developing and creating programs for social change under our brand: "TAKE Kare" (Thomas' initials).
We thank you all again for providing so much help and support.
Founder & Director
Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation