International Women’s Day: Maylands-based Angelhands founder inducted into WA Women’s Hall of Fame

Maylands MLA Lisa Baker and Angelhands founder Ann O’Neill.
Maylands MLA Lisa Baker and Angelhands founder Ann O’Neill.

MAYLANDS-based Angelhands founder Ann O’Neill has been inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame for her work with women suffering from trauma and domestic violence.

At an awards ceremony held at Government House today, Dr O’Neill was acknowledged for championing the cause of women for more than 20 years.

Angelhands is a service provider that supports victims of extreme traumas.

In 1994, Dr O’Neill’s ex-husband murdered her two children, injured her and took his own life.

Following the tragedy, Dr O’Neill studied at university to qualify as a social worker and then mapped out services for secondary victims of homicide, meeting with victims and completed a PhD in the process.

Dr O’Neill said it felt “surreal” to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which was a “fabulous” recognition of women’s achievements.

“The sector is increasingly widening its view of the issues relating to the gender violence and gender difference,” she said.

“We (Angelhands) are looking at more creative, empowering solutions that don’t unintentionally re-victimise women.

“Fifteen years ago, the minute there was a concept of domestic violence, there was a report made then instantly it was like remove the women and children.

“Whereas now, we have ‘safe at home’ programs where they are not removed from their homes and further marginalised and they risk homelessness and financial ruin by being removed from their homes.”

Maylands MLA Lisa Baker, who nominated Dr O’Neill, said Dr O’Neill was a “remarkable woman” who showed immense leadership in Maylands and across the state.

“I have known Ann for 10 years and think it is extraordinary how she turned not only her own life around after suffering extreme trauma but also turned around many other’s lives,” she said.

“Ann has championed the cause of women and those suffering from abuse, offering support, education and advocacy, helping to change the conversation around domestic violence.”

Dr O’Neill said Angelhands would attempt a world record through a new program in June.

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