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Assault stats are shocking
Editorial - Herald Sun (VIC Metropolitan, 2 February 2009)

THE Herald Sun is shocked but not surprised at horrific new figures showing a big increase in serious street assaults.

The toll is enormous.

More than 800 Victorians - most of them young men - suffered brain damage, severe trauma and other major health problems following assaults in the six years between 2001 and 2007.

Fifty-eight died of their injuries, and many have never fully recovered.

Professor Peter Cameron, The Alfred's academic director of emergency and trauma, echoes all our thoughts when he says this is happening in "not a very good society".

Another sickening assault on Satur day night outside Flinders St station - another young man with life-threatening injuries - proves it.

Most random violence in metropolitan Melbourne is fuelled by alcohol and other drugs.

And although the number of assaults has increased only slightly, serious assaults have leapt from 82 seven years ago to 218 in 2006-07.

Strong action is needed to reverse this appalling trend.

This paper's Save Our City campaign aims to increase community awareness of a significant malignancy.

To cure it, we need more police on the beat and greater surveillance of clubs and pubs where violence is most likely to occur.

Liquor licensees need to be more vigilant.

Too many drunken louts are being served alcohol.

We welcome, too, Premier John Brumby's intention to promote greater levels of respect among young Victorians.

Attacking the escalation of street violence will be a key element in the State Government's statement of intentions to be announced in Parliament tomorrow.

Premier Brumby has already promised more police on the beat, and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has vowed to clean up the streets.

It is abundantly clear that their promises need to be backed by firm action. | End

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