Ann O’Neill – researcher, educator

Ann O’Neill, like Rosie Batty, is an amazing woman. Both have survived horrendous domestic violence. They have been traumatised. Their children have been killed.

I had the privilege of hearing Ann speak to a small group this morning. Hence another blog about domestic terrorism.

Dr Ann O'Neil

Dr Ann O’Neil

After stalking her for eighteen months, her estranged husband broke into her home. He shot dead their children, Kyle (6) and Latisha (4). Then he shot Ann. As a result of the horrific wounds he inflicted, surgeons amputated her leg. She was just twenty-four years old.

Ann O’Neill and Rosie Batty were victims of domestic violence.They were like far too many other women who are abused by their intimate partners. Every three hours a woman in Australia is hospitalised as a result of domestic violence.

Some women survive unimaginable violence. Some  never recover. But Ann O’Neill and Rosie Batty chose to survive. They also decided to help other victims. Ann  says there is another step. Some women not only survive, they thrive.

During her recovery, she was appalled that journalists and others asked her to tell her ‘story’. Domestic violence is no fiction. When she had recovered she went back to school. She enrolled in social work at university and became an accredited social worker. In 2010, she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy Degree.

Ten years ago, she founded angelhands Inc. This organisation helps people affected by serious personal violence to recover from their trauma. Her PhD research underpins the programs and services provided.

angelhands logo

angelhands logo

Basic tenets of Ann O’Neill’s doctoral research (from the angelhands website)

  • Speaking to people who understand the experience of trauma;
  • having opportunities to speak about their challenges and
  • experiencing ‘random acts of kindness’

help accelerate recovery among secondary victims of homicide by promoting trust, hope and a sense of social justice.

Ann O’Neill was a guest at the Media Stand Up Against Violence event  last week. The event at Parliament House in Canberra was attended by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten.

Dr Ann O'Neill with Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (picture courtesy of SMH)

Dr Ann O’Neill with Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (picture courtesy of SMH)

This is part of what Ann O’Neil had to say on that occasion

As a researcher, writer and educator I have taken the liberty of summarising what current research tells us we need to assess when reporting domestic violence into an acronym (ASSESS) so we don’t end up telling stories.

  • Avoid victim blaming or focusing on victim’s behaviours.
  • Stereotypes (myths) and sensationalism must be challenged.
  • Sources must be carefully selected – expert voices must be included.
  • Excuses must not be offered for abuser’s behaviours.
  • Social context of abuse must be provided.
  • Sources of help and support listed in every report.

Using this information will not only change lives, but it will save lives.

Read more here.

We all have a part in preventing domestic terrorism. It may be as simple as refusing to stand by silently while someone is abusing a person we know.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SITUATION,

  • IN AN EMERGENCY PHONE 000 FOR URGENT HELP
  • FOR COUNSELLING, RING THE NATIONAL COUNSELLING HELPLINE ON 1800 737 732

angelhands Inc can be contacted on (08) 92722242

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