Homicide victims' families make emotional plea
TWO Gladstone families, united by murder, issued an emotional plea to 700 of the city's teenagers over the past three days.
The families of victims Brandon Matthews and Joelean Watson met for the first time yesterday.
The killings of Brandon and Joelean, in unrelated crimes, pushed their loved ones into an unfathomable pit of despair.
As they slowly rebuild their lives, their families implored adolescents to heed the message of the State Government's One Punch Can Kill campaign.
Paula Matthews's son Brandon, 19, was stabbed to death in Ipswich in 2011.
Linda Watson's daughter Joelean died at 23 in 2008 - the victim of domestic violence.
"Acts of violence took our family away from us," Mrs Watson said.
"It's been six years now, but I can never say it is over.
"There's still a lot of anxiety and fear from having the police knock on our door.
"We are reminded every day of our loss by the empty seat at the table.
"If there is just one person that can be saved, or one family that escapes this nightmare, it is worth it.
"Education like this should be mandatory in all Australian schools."
Both women are members of the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group.
Mrs Matthews won't be able to celebrate her son's 21st birthday in September in the way most parents would.
Instead she is hosting a fundraiser in his memory.
The fundraiser, to be held at the city's PCYC on September 13, has eclipsed all expectations for Mrs Matthews.
"I have raised $6000 in just three weeks," she said.
"All money is in aid of the Qld Homicide Victims Support Group, who still provide support to me two years
Head to the Brandon Matthews 21st Birthday Fundraiser For QHVSG Facebook page for details.
The One Punch Can Kill campaign is a partnership between Queensland Police and the support group.
Its aim is to curb violence and teach teenagers responsible decision-making.