Woman injured doing self-defence move loses awarded damages

A ROCKHAMPTON woman injured while demonstrating a "back steps" defence manoeuvre during a staff training session has lost the $369,000 damages claim she was awarded.

Christine Anne Weaver, 49 at the time of injury, was working at the Endeavour Foundation as a senior individual funding services manager.

She had been taught the move during Professional Assault Response Training designed to help staff deal with aggressive clients.

The Endeavour Foundation provides employment for people with intellectual disabilities who can sometimes become agitated or violent.

Mrs Weaver went on to teach Endeavour staff the self-defence training six times without incident before suffering injuries to her spine and coccyx during a fall while showing the "back steps" manoeuvre.

Justice Cate Holmes, in a Queensland Court of Appeal judgment handed down on Tuesday, said Mrs Weaver described how both feet stuck to the carpet and just "threw" her as she tried to complete the move quickly.

She said there was much debate about whether the move - walking backwards on the ball of one's feet in a slightly crouched position while continuing to make eye contact with the aggressor - should be done quickly.

The judgment detailed the training which suggested people practise the "unnatural movement" repeatedly slowly so it became easier and then become quicker to mimic a real life situation within their own abilities.

Justice Holmes said the trial judge had failed to consider the reason for issuing the relevant instruction was to promote employee safety.

"In this instance, with the Endeavour Foundation's responsibility of safeguarding employees from attack, the instruction to move as quickly as possibly was a reasonable one," she said.

Justice Holmes, with agreeance from two other Court of Appeal justices, overturned the original $369,000 damages claim and found in favour of the Endeavour Foundation.


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