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John Curtin Medal awarded to domestic violence advocate

Twenty two years ago, domestic violence survivor and advocate Dr Ann O’Neill, lost her two young children, Kyle and Latisha, when her estranged husband broke into her home and murdered them while they were sleeping. Her husband then shot Dr O’Neill, and killed himself in front of her.

Dr Ann O’Neill has been awarded the 2016 John Curtin medal.
Dr Ann O’Neill has been awarded the 2016 John Curtin medal.

Just seven months later, Dr O’Neill commenced full-time study in honour of Kyle and Latisha, going on to gain a Degree in Social Work with First Class Honours, and a PhD in International Health at Curtin.

Dr O’Neill has campaigned for many years to raise awareness of family violence, and provide support to victims. She founded Angel Hands, a not-for-profit community support group for victims of serious crime, more than a decade ago, 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 was recently awarded the John Curtin Medal 2016 for her tireless efforts in raising awareness and providing support to victims of family violence. The medal is awarded annually 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.”

The 2016 John Curtin Medallist joins 41 other outstanding organisations and individuals who have been awarded the University’s most prestigious non-academic award.