Domestic violence survivor and advocate Dr Ann O’Neill has been awarded the John Curtin Medal 2016 for her tireless efforts in raising awareness and providing support to victims of family violence.
In 1994, Dr O’Neill lost her two children and her leg in a murder-suicide committed by her estranged husband when he broke into her home while they were asleep.
Just seven months later, she commenced full-time study in honour of her children, going on to gain a Degree in Social Work with First Class Honours and a PhD in International Health at Curtin.
Since 1998, the John Curtin Medal has been awarded annually by Curtin University to members of the community who demonstrate former Prime Minister John Curtin’s leadership qualities and commitment to community service.
Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry, said Dr O’Neill had dedicated her life to helping others in the wake of the tragedy through her social work, advocacy, research, education and public speaking.
“Despite suffering an unimaginable tragedy, Ann has channelled her energy to bring awareness to the issue of domestic and family violence and trauma,” Professor Terry said.
“Her extraordinary courage, resilience, vision and leadership make her a very worthy recipient of the John Curtin Medal.”
Dr O’Neill founded Angel Hands, a not-for-profit community support group for victims of serious crime, more than a decade ago.
She was the inaugural Convenor of the WA Homicide Victims Support Group and recently became an ambassador for Our Watch, a group dedicated to ending violence against women and their children.
Dr O’Neill also educates and advises government departments, organisations and individuals on issues of family violence, victims of violence and how people can cope with trauma and stress in their lives and workplaces.
Dr O’Neill remarried and celebrated the birth of a son in 2013.
The 2016 John Curtin Medallist joins 41 other outstanding organisations and individuals who have been awarded Curtin University’s most prestigious non-academic award.