When you read the Australia Day Honours List, you will see that Nicolette Norris (aka Niki Dene) is now a Member in the general division of the Order of Australia ” for significant service to the community, particularly to the rights, protection and welfare of children.” She is now Niki Norris, AM.
From Johnny Pace…… I could not be more delighted that her commitment and dedication to the cause has been so recognised. For the past 10 years she has donated up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week to the cause and I habitually am compelled to feign annoyance about 7.00pm each night to make her close the office and come to dinner. Our weekend evenings are frequently interrupted by phone calls from desperate mothers and never has she told them to ring back on Monday. Instead she breaks from whatever we were enjoying together to listen, advise and counsel – a process that never seems to take less than an hour. Our home is often used as a refuge for Mothers and their children from Intrastate who have to come to Sydney for Hearings etc and who can’t afford hotel accommodation. She is currently working with the State Member for Heathcote, Lee Evans, on the setting up of a Child Abuse Tribunal, with a panel of experts to investigate claims of abuse and to act as what Lee calls a ‘Gateway’ before these cases are dealt with by the Family Court. She has formed a separate group, Young Survivors Against Child Abuse (YSACA), made up of young people who have been returned to the custody of the more protective parent, more often than not, through Niki’s intervention. She arranged a meeting with the Federal Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, who listened to their stories and is already acting on the issues the children raised. Her many meetings with Government departments dealing with children has seen a marked improvement in attitudes and practice as she makes them understand the underlying flaws that see too many children suffering Court sanctioned abuse. All this just touches on the work she does and the outcomes she has achieved. That all this work is now recognised with an AM for her makes me the proudest man on the planet. Well wishing to: firstname.lastname@example.org