The Sycamore Tree Project

ROSS | Australia

How Far Would You Go to Stop Another Crime?

Ross is a crime survivor, who refuses to be sidelined. Because of the brutal murder of his son Michael, in Queensland’s worst crime nine years ago, his motivation for joining the Sycamore Tree Project is simple:

“If we get through to just one inmate not to re-offend, we’ve done our job. That’s what it’s all about.”

Ross has seen the human damage one crime can do. He heads up the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group, which reaches out to families who have been devastated by serious crimes.


Hardened criminals fight back tears when they hear Ross recount the devastation he experienced for years after his son was killed.

It becomes a turning point for many in the room who have never thought about the long-term consequences of their actions. “When I tell my story, I can see it getting through,” Ross says. “Up until that point, they really don’t understand what we have been through. They don’t see the trauma they leave behind and the repercussions. These are tough guys, but when we talk to them, you can see the change. You can see it in their eyes.”

Ross continues, “My goal is to save just one person. That will make my life complete. And if I can do that, then I hope Michael would say to me ‘Hey dad, I’m proud of you’.”

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Story credit: Martin Howard, Sycamore Tree Project, Queensland, Australia

Photo credit: Emily Martin

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