'Black Saturday' bravery award revoked

A victim of domestic abuse has been tirelessly campaigning and urging the Melbourne Lord Mayor to strip her attacker, who is now in prison, of his Royal Humane Society bravery medal.

Jeannie Blackburn, of Yarra Valley, lost the sight in her left eye following a savage beating in 2007 by her then husband, Paul McCuskey.

McCuskey was sentenced to a minimum of three years behind bars in 2010 for domestic abuse.

But despite this, he was allowed to keep a medal awarded to him earlier this year for his work during the Black Saturday bush fires in 2009 - a move Ms Blackburn has described as a 'slap in the face'.

On Tuesday, an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Directors of the Royal Humane Society of Australasia conducted a case review and unanimously decided to revoke the Certificate of Merit awarded to McCuskey immediately.

Ms Blackburn claims the attack was so violent the optic nerve was severed, and eventually her eye will need to be removed.

She also claims to have lost two unborn babies at the hands of the 41-year-old.

"It was savage, absolutely savage," Ms Blackburn said. "I wouldn't want anybody to go through what I've been through."

Victim: Jeannie Blackburn. (Inset image) Jeannie's face after one of Paul McCuskey's attacks. Photo: Supplied

"On the day of the fires, what he did was brave, but it's what he did behind closed doors that's not brave to me," Ms Blackburn said today.

"As a victim of domestic violence, I don't consider any man who bashes a woman or commits any sort of violence to another person a hero."

Today, Ms Blackburn handed over a petition, signed by more than 18,000 people, to the Lord Mayor's office calling for the reward to be revoked.

"We can't reward people who do bad things with medals," Ms Blackburn said.

"We can't reward people that commit atrocious acts of violence.

"It's sending a bad message to our youth. It's saying you can do a good deed one day and something bad the next and it's alright - you're still a hero."

Robert Doyle, vice-president of the Royal Humane Society, agreed to support Ms Blackburn's campaign to have McCuskey's award revoked.

It was only after the Award was accepted that the Society received a number of informal complaints about McCuskey’s then alleged assaults. After immediately reviewing the case, and not in possession of any other facts, the Society decided the award should stand.

Since then, the Society received extensive evidence regarding McCuskey’s conduct, which led to the decision to rescind the award.

Click here for more information about Jeannie Blackburn's petition.