The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has presented Western Australian Dr. Ann O’Neill with the John Simpson Kirkpatrick “Standing for Something” citation in recognition of her work as a crime victims supporter. A ceremony to mark the occasion took place 15 May on the University of Western Australia campus in Perth.
Timothy Masson, President of the Latter-day Saints’ Perth Dianella Stake (a stake is similar to a diocese), was the presenter. Accompanying him was Justin Richards, President of the Perth Warwick Stake.
The “Standing for Something” award, inspired by the ANZAC who gave his life while transporting wounded from the battlefield at Gallipoli, honours Dr. O’Neill’s courage in the face of personal tragedy and her remarkable efforts for the good of others.
Some years ago, Dr. O’Neill’s two children were murdered and her own life was almost taken on one horrendous night. After this extremely difficult personal period, she turned to full-time university study. She completed a PhD with a ground-breaking dissertation researching the social support available and necessary for secondary victims of serious crime.
In his presentation remarks, President Masson said the following: "Jesus Christ is recorded as saying, 'In the world ye shall have tribulation.' There are those who, sadly, receive a distribution of tribulation that is unimaginable to the majority. Dr O'Neill's remarkable story, is a testament to the human spirit that hope can spring forth from even the deepest of despair."
Dr. O’Neill, along with a group of friends dedicated to compassion, human rights and social justice, founded “Angel Hands Inc.” This charitable organization provides support to people affected by the death of a loved one through homicide, and to those who have experienced serious personal violence.
"Those, like Dr O’Neill," said President Masson, "who help others find hope and healing, provide the greatest of gifts."
As the director of “Angel Hands,” Ann champions the needs of crime victims. She also advises the Western Australian Justice Department on the impact of crime in the lives of those touched by it.
Dr. O’Neill was the WA State Finalist for Australian of the Year in 2011.
The "Standing For Something" recognition was accompanied by a bronze statuette of John Simpson Kirkpatrick bearing a wounded soldier on the back of a small donkey.