26 Jan 2015

Australia honours anti-violence campaigner

8:53 am on 26 January 2015

A woman who campaigns against family violence has been named 2015 Australian of the Year for her work.

Rosie Batty

Victorian family violence campaigner Rosie Batty - pictured in Tyabb, Victoria on 19 January 2015. Photo: AAP

Rosie Batty decided to act following the loss of her 11-year-old-son, Luke, who was the victim of domestic violence at the hands of his father in a public assault.

Her story jolted Australia into recognising that family violence could happen to anyone and she has given voice to many thousands of victims, the ABC reported.

Ms Batty now champions efforts to fight domestic violence, making media and public speaking appearances and calling for systemic changes.

"I would like to dedicate this award to my beautiful son, Luke," she said in accepting the award.

"He is the reason I have found my voice and I'm able to be heard."

While Australians live in a "wonderful country ... there remains a serious epidemic across our nation", she said.

"Family violence may happen behind closed doors but it needs to be brought out from these shadows and into broad daylight."

Ms Batty called on the Government to dedicate long-term secure funding to fighting family violence and urged the community to "speak up" against sexist attitudes.

She was one of eight people nominated for the award.

Women were awarded the top honour in all four award categories for the first time in the history of the awards.

In addition to Ms Batty's award, Jackie French from New South Wales was named Senior Australian of the Year, Western Australia's Drisana Levitzke-Gray was named Young Australian of the Year and Queensland's Juliette Wright was named Australia's Local Hero.


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs