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