Qld charity founder wins award for work supporting domestic violence survivors


The founder of Queensland-based charity, Friends with Dignity, Manuela Whitford was today presented with the Australian Lawyers Alliance’s (ALA) Queensland Civil Justice Award recognising her work to assist survivors of domestic violence.

The annual ALA Civil Justice Award recognises individuals or organisations who have displayed an outstanding commitment to the pursuit of justice.

“Manuela Whitford is a very deserving winner of our Civil Justice Award,” said ALA Queensland State President, Ms Sarah Grace. “The work Manuela does through her charity, Friends with Dignity, helps ensure that escaping violence at home does not mean ending up homeless or in prison.”

When Manuela Whitford was working as a clinical nurse in the Queensland prison system, she saw the harm being caused by domestic violence, including women who committed crimes because being in prison was safer than being at home with their abusive partner.

Recognising that people need more support to be able to safely escape violence at home, Manuela stepped up and formed an organisation called Friends with Dignity. The charity now operates nationally to support victim-survivors as they rebuild their lives, free from abuse.

Friends with Dignity furnishes homes, provides scholarships for children to attend school camps, provides personal safety devices for people at risk of harm, emergency funding for people fleeing violence and more.

“Manuela’s work makes a significant and meaningful difference to the lives of many people, and we are pleased today to acknowledge the value of her work,” said Ms Grace. “She has demonstrated the impact that one person can have when they choose to step up, engage their community and help others.”

Previous winners of the Queensland Civil Justice Award include law firm founder Kerry Splatt, Braveheart founder Hetty Johnston AM, patient advocate Beryl Crosby, Sisters Inside CEO Debbie Kilroy, Gerry Mullins KC and human rights barrister Stephen Keim SC.

Manuela Whitford received this award today at the ALA Queensland Conference on the Gold Coast.

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