After more than 18,000 sign Change.org petition, Society revokes award given to man jailed for domestic violence attack; victim lost her baby and sight in one eye after attack
The victim of a brutal domestic violence attack has welcomed the decision by the Royal Humane Society to revoke the bravery award given to her attacker.
Domestic violence victim Jeannie Blackburn was informed this evening that the Royal Humane Society had revoked the award given to her former partner, Paul McCuskey. McCuskey was in jail serving a five and a half year sentence for a series of vicious attacks on Jeannie when he received the bravery honour from the Society for his actions with the Reefton CFA during the Black Saturday bushfires.
“I am completely overwhelmed by the support the public has given me on this issue,” said Jeannie.
“It’s an incredible victory for the huge community of people who have come together to take a stand against domestic violence.
“Brave men don’t bash women. I was devastated when I heard that Paul had been publicly rewarded for bravery – it seemed crazy that a man could be acknowledged for his public deeds when behind closed doors he had been so violent.
“I am so pleased that the Royal Humane Society has finally listened to the community feeling on this issue through the more than 18,000 people who signed the Change.org petition calling on them to revoke the award.”
Jeannie was given the courage to speak out when she stumbled across the Change.org petition started by Brisbane mum Melinda Liszewski. In just over two weeks, Melinda’s petition gathered more than 18,000 signatures and helped focus media attention on the issue.
Jeannie said she wanted to thank the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce and Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle (a Vice-President of the Society), who had both publicly called on the Society to revoke the award. She was also grateful for media coverage of the issue.
“For too long no-one was listening to what had happened to me. Seeing the thousands of ordinary members of the community showing their support for me through the Change.org petition gave me the strength to start to speak out – not just for me but for all victims of domestic violence.”
Jeannie said she had no doubt the media coverage around the Change.org petition had forced the Society to bring forward its scheduled meeting on the issue, and for them to take the step to revoke the award.