Vanessa Fowler nom­i­nated for Pride of Aus­tralia medal For the love of Al­li­son

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - THOMAS CHAMBERLIN

VANESSA Fowler has many roles. She’s a mother, a teacher, a carer, and runs a foun­da­tion in her sis­ter’s name.

And she’s turn­ing her own fam­ily tragedy into a pos­i­tive legacy, through the Al­li­son Baden-Clay Foun­da­tion.

She has a strong mes­sage that she knows Al­li­son would ap­prove of: if you know about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, speak up.

It’s about know­ing the warn­ing signs that she says might have helped save Al­li­son who was mur­dered by her hus­band Ger­ard BadenClay in 2012.

For her tire­less work cam­paign­ing on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, Vanessa has been nom­i­nated for a Pride of Aus­tralia award by 7 News pre­sen­ter Sharyn Ghidella.

“To start a foun­da­tion, she is a busy woman, she is a mother, she has got two of her own chil­dren, she is look­ing af­ter Al­li­son’s chil­dren as well, she has her par­ents and she also works as a school teacher,” Sharyn said.

“To be able to turn that tragedy around, find the time to start a foun­da­tion, but make a dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity, I think she is very wor­thy of this award.”

Vanessa said she was hon­oured and hum­bled to be nom­i­nated. She said it was im­por­tant to set up the foun­da­tion with her par­ents be­cause they wanted Al­li­son’s legacy to be a pos­i­tive one.

“We wanted her three girls to know that their mother was an amaz­ing per­son.

‘‘Some­one who was gen­er­ous and kind, and al­ways put oth­ers be­fore her­self.’’

Vanessa said while her par­ents were the pri­mary guardians for Al­li­son’s three girls, she was very much a parental fig­ure in their eyes and lives.

“I’m very in­volved with their up­bring­ing and their care,” she said. “They are do­ing very well. They are ex­celling in school. Han­nah is in her fi­nal year. We are look­ing for­ward to her go­ing off to univer­sity next year.

“They are very re­silient. They are each be­com­ing their own in­di­vid­ual, strong, per­son.”

The foun­da­tion has held its Strive to Be Kind cam­paign ev­ery year in July, at which her girls proudly wear yel­low in Al­li­son’s hon­our.

Vanessa said the foun­da­tion en­cour­aged sur­vivors to open up and tell their sto­ries, some of which were “ab­so­lutely hor­rific” .

She said they aimed to em­power women, to give them the strength to get out of a re­la­tion­ship where they felt they were at risk.

“I be­lieve that there is a pos­i­tive change and Al­li­son’s story, be­cause it was such a high-pro­file case, I think it ac­tu­ally made a lot of women stop and take a look at their own re­la­tion­ships or re­la­tion­ships of those around them,” she said.

The Foun­da­tion has part­nered with Grif­fith Univer­sity in the MATE By­s­tander Pro­gram which teaches peo­ple how to recog­nise the signs of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and how to help in a con­struc­tive way so there’s no con­se­quence for the vic­tim. “I think that my par­ents and I and those around Al­li­son, if we had known what we know now, then things may have been a lit­tle dif­fer­ent,” she said.

Nom­i­na­tions are now open for Pride of Aus­tralia at pride­o­faus­tralia.com.au

WEAR WITH PRIDE: Vanessa Fowler (left) with TV news­reader Sharyn Ghidella.

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