Protecting women and children
FOR almost 30 years, Julie Oberin has been passionately providing support for women and children experiencing family violence.
While aware of the importance of the work, she never expected to be appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia but is honoured by the recognition.
“I was notified that I was nominated on April 1st, I thought it was an April Fool’s Day prank,” she said.
The CEO of women’s refuge and domestic violence service Annie North said she is thrilled her work on preventing and responding to family violence has been recognised and hopes to use the award to spread greater awareness of the issue.
Ms Oberin has witnessed first-hand the positive outcomes Annie North has provided to the community and said it’s “extremely rewarding” to see victims go on to live healthy, safe and independent lives.
“Some of the highlights have been when young women have asked if they can do their student placement with us because they were in refuge with their Mum with us when they were a child and they said we changed their lives,” she said,
While working at a community level, Ms Oberin said she is grateful to have been able to influence major policy changes in all levels of government.
“Being grounded in a front-line specialist women’s family violence service has enabled me to see the barriers and opportunities and to take de-identified real-life stories to those that need to hear them,” she said.
Ms Oberin is the chair of the Women’s Service Network, the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance and foundation member of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters.
She has sat on the Council of Australian Governments Advisory Panel to reduce violence against women and their children and has spoken at the United Nations Commission for the Status of Women in New York at the UN Headquarters.
“As a victim/survivor myself and having grown up on a small farm just out of Bendigo, I am still amazed that I have been invited to talk at conferences both in Australia and in other parts of the world,” she said.