Sunday Night August 30

This weekend Sunday Night has stories on  lighting strikes and combating violence against woman.

Boomtime!
It’s one of nature’s most powerful and impressive shows. More than 100 lightning bolts strike the surface of the earth every single second. Up to a billion volts in each and every strike, four times hotter than the surface of the sun. And scientists are discovering the phenomenon is increasing at a rapid and alarming rate. In this Sunday Night special event we look at the shock and awe of lightning. The science, the adventure, the tragedy and a dangerous future filled with more and more of it. Being struck by lightning is more common than you might think. Five to 20 deaths in Australia each year and hundreds of injured. Jayden Morrissey was one of those statistics. He was a typical 15 year old Aussie kid who loved the beach and surfing. He was walking up the beach on the NSW mid-north coast with two mates when he was struck and killed instantly. Lightning is also as damaging as it is deadly. More than half of the world’s bushfires are caused by lightning. Power grids go down. Electronics are fried. Billions of dollars in damage. As the planet warms, lightning strikes are rapidly increasing. Experts predict there will be 50 per cent more strikes by the end of the century. What does this mean for us, and the planet? Sunday Night’s Denham Hitchcock unlocks those secrets. He and the Sunday Night team travel deep into the jungle of Venezuela to a place that gets struck by lightning more times than anywhere on earth, 40 thousand times a night. They go to Florida to watch scientists create lightning with rockets fired into cloud to try to hatch ways of managing the growing boom time in lightning. We even speak to a man in South Carolina who claims to have been struck 11 times.

The Dallas Solution
Searching for a solution to domestic violence that claims the life of one woman a week in Australia, Sunday Night host Melissa Doyle heads to Dallas where a breakthrough program is achieving remarkable results. Deep in the heart of Texas, authorities have joined forces to take a zero-tolerance approach to violence against women. Specialised police units, a dedicated court and trained counsellors have seen domestic violence homicides there drop from 31 to three in only three years. The Sunday Night team was the first allowed to film proceedings inside Dallas County Criminal Court 10 where trailblazing Judge Roberto Canas is taking an uncompromising approach to offenders. This judicial initiative is about to be trialled in Queensland and Victoria. Men who are reported for violence are arrested and taken straight to jail. Few choose to plead not guilty and face trial, most face up to their crimes and for that Judge Canas suspends their sentence and sends them into a six-month intervention program where men are forced to confront their demons and take responsibility for their actions. An astounding 94 per cent of these men have not reoffended. As Australia struggles to confront the scourge of violence against women there are powerful lessons in this program for those looking for solutions here. Mel’s story goes to the heart of this extraordinarily complex and distressing issue – and offers up real answers.

Sunday at 7pm on Seven.