Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Men Fear Helping out Kids in Danger

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Men Fear Helping out Kids in Danger

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard Bruinsma

AWKWARD, scared and even guilty a they are just some of the emotions felt by men confronted with the prospect of helping an unknown child in need.

Sunshine Coast men, and others around the world, say it is a dilemma which is at the forefront of their minds almost every day as a society frightened by the threat of pedophilia deems them guilty of being a threat to children until proven innocent.

They risk being accused of inappropriate dealings for innocently trying to do the right and responsible thing by offering straightforward assistance to a child.

The issue raised its head again last week when a man on a Virgin Australia flight was asked to move because his seat was beside two unaccompanied boys.

He was outraged and the airline reportedly is reviewing its policies, but Coast men say it is now a sad reality of life.

Off-duty paramedic and married father-of-three Matt Peterson was on his way home after a night shift when he was confronted with such a scenario.

On the side of the road was a young girl wearing only underwear and he was torn between driving past and leaving her to face any emerging threats alone, or doing what he thought was the responsible thing and pulling over to make sure she would be safe.

He chose the latter.

aI had to stop and do something; I couldn't leave her for some dirt bag to come and pick her up,a Mr Peterson said.

He wrapped the girl in a towel and put her in his car; before speaking with another motorist who confirmed where the girl was from and called ahead to say she would be dropped home shortly.

aYou need to do something to help as a responsible adult, but there's always the threat that someone might report you,a Mr Peterson said.

aIt's a real issue, but pedophiles have ruined it for normal men who just want to help. …

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