ONE-PUNCH attacks have claimed the lives of at least six West Australians between 2000 and 2012, a new study has found.
The Monash University study found there were 90 fatal one-punch attacks in Australia between January 2000 and December 2012.
Most occurred in New South Wales (28) followed by Victoria and Queensland with 24 cases each.
The study identified at least six cases in WA.
Study co-author Jennifer Pilgrim said alcohol was the key factor in most of the 90 cases.
“People should still be able to enjoy alcohol and go out on the weekends feeling safe. It’s the people who think it’s OK to drink to excess and go out looking for a fight that are the problem,” Dr Pilgrim said.
“We need to change our drinking culture in Australia and we need more research to guide preventive initiatives.
“It is no longer acceptable to say you didn’t know a single punch could kill.
“Although attitudes are difficult to change, alcohol-related harm in Australia will continue unless we accept that we have a problem and work towards changing it.”
There have been a spate of highly publicised one-punch attacks across Australia in the past 18 months.
Daniel Christie, 18, died after suffering a fractured skull in an alleged one-punch attack at Sydney’s Kings Cross on New Year’s Eve.
Thomas Kelly, also 18, was punched once in Kings Cross in July 2012. He died two days later.
Irishman Thomas Keaney, 23, was allegedly punched once in Northbridge on December 17. He died in hospital on December 29.
Jim Richardson’s son Grant was one of the six West Australians identified in the Monash study.
He died after being punched outside a home in Yangebup in 2008.
Mr Richardson said people who committed such attacks had to face “heavy penalties.”
“We should all learn to keep our hands to ourselves,” he said.
“This current violent behaviour has to stop and the message has to be enforced by heavy penalties as strong deterrents.”
NSW recently introduced mandatory eight-year jail sentences for fatal one-punch attacks as part of a raft of measures to curb alcohol-related violence in Sydney.