While Head of Good Shepherd’s Women’s Research, Advocacy and Policy (WRAP) Centre, Kathy was at the forefront of research into forced marriage and advocacy for increased protection and service responses for women and girls who are at risk.
Kathy is widely recognised as a thought leader in the area of forced marriage and has been a key driver in increasing the awareness of forced marriage in Australia. Kathy has also previously co-chaired the Victorian Forced Marriage Network .
Her research, policy, advocacy and leadership in this area has contributed significantly to improved cross-sectoral understandings of forced marriage, has informed legislative review and has raised the profile of forced marriage in Australia and internationally.
Kathy also oversaw the research project which culminated in the now widely referenced and authoritative report ‘The Right to Refuse: Examining Forced Marriage in Australia’. This resource is one of two key Australian sources on the topic of forced marriage in the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book.
At the Awards ceremony, Kathy said she was honoured to be included among the individuals, organisations and governments recognised for their work to abolish human trafficking and slavery in Australia.
“Forced marriage is an egregious abuse of human rights and is often a hidden form of violence against women and children,” said Kathy.
'Good Shepherd has maintained its commitment to policy research for over 25 years, and I have been privileged to share the past 12 years of that journey.
'When I joined Good Shepherd in 2005, we already had a strong track-record in research and advocacy, especially to protect people from financial exploitation and hardship.
'My first role with Good Shepherd was as a policy researcher, and then as manager. I saw the work evolve to fully embrace our mission to address the inequities experienced by women and girls.
'We led community understanding with research on women’s financial capability, economic abuse, and forced marriage, each of which is now recognised as an important arena for policy change.
'Meanwhile the scope of our work has continued to widen, for example to support program development and evaluation.
'Linking up with our international Good Shepherd colleagues to advocate on gender equality to the United Nations has seen the local work have global impact.
'Helping to form the Good Shepherd Asia-Pacific Anti-trafficking Network and bring Australia’s issues with forced marriage to the fore has been a great privilege.