Home ContentDr Ann O’Neill - Angelhands

Dr Ann O’Neill - Angelhands

Published : November 27, 2018

From Flourish Magazine Issue 10, November 2009


They didn’t have to,” explains Ann. “They care. Society is acknowledging that what has happened is inappropriate.”

Neither Jonty nor Ann likes to use the word ‘victim’ when referring to people affected by violence.

“When I think of a victim, I think of someone who has given up, who’s hopeless, has no concept of what they can contribute to the world,” explains Jonty.

“Certainly that hasn’t been the experience with most of the people I’ve met. The ‘victims’ I’ve met have been exceptionally motivated, passionate, articulate people that are very objective about their situation and really just want to make a better world for others for completely altruistic reasons.”

Through her research, Ann came up with the label ‘orienteers’, as we as humans are “all orientating a landscape that we’re not familiar with, and we’ll hit potholes and we’ll hit mountains and crossings that we need people to guide us through ... but that doesn’t mean we’re a victim, and if you class us as survivors then we don’t get any help.”

Ultimately, Angelhands would like to see a community that is more aware of violent happenings, more proactive in putting a stop to them and most certainly not accepting them.

“Our young people are getting more and more depressed and killing themselves,” says Ann.

“Why? Because we don’t give them any hope, and that to me is what Angelhands does more than anything; provide people with hope and the example that life goes on.

“Life won’t be the same, it never will, but it can be good. It will be different, but it can be good.”


The largest problem facing Angelhands is their lack of funds, as they are a not-for-profit, non-funded organisation. Donations to Angelhands are tax deductible and can be made via their website.

Angelhands is always looking for corporate sponsorship to assist with events such as retreats. Contact Ann O’Neill if you can help.


Angelhands: www.angelhands.org.au
Beyond Blue: www.beyondblue.org.au
Crisis Care WA: 08 9223 1111
The Global Good Foundation: www.ggf.org.au
Men’s Domestic Violence Helpline: 08 9223 1199
One Punch: www.onepunchcankill.com.au
Queensland Homicide Victims’ Support Group: www.qhvsg.org.au Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline: 08 9223 1188


According to most, the media has a lot to answer for when it comes to the increasing levels of violence in schools and our youth.

“Kids get so desensitised standing there, shooting people in Timezone and on their Playstations,” says Ann. “When you’re surrounded by images of violence, I guess at some level – the research suggests – that you do become desensitised to it.”

Jonty finds it particularly interesting that we’ve come to accept violence in our media as okay, particularly sexual violence towards women in video games.

“If I light up a cigarette, I’m a social pariah,” she says. “Yet you can bash someone and it’s funny, it’s okay, people will take photos and upload it onto YouTube. We seem to celebrate it as a rite of passage [in Australia].”

With an increase in the amounts – and severity – of violent acts and human negativity on our televisions and in our video games, how can we expect society to institute change and look down upon violence?

“It doesn’t encourage really good community-based responses that are based on sharing and caring,” says Ann. “I think it contributes to your
bullying at home, your bullying at school, which leads to bullying in pubs, which leads to ... death and destruction and mayhem.”

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology there were 266 homicide victims in 2006-07, with the peak ages for women being 35-39. Male homicides peaked at ages 20-24, while children aged 0-4 also rated high among victims.

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