YOKINE resident Rae Willis has won the 2016 Bert Harris award for supporting victims of crime.
The award is the attorney general’s highest honour, but Ms Willis says she received it on behalf of dozens of other volunteers who also deserved it.
Ms Willis volunteers with the Victim Support and Child Witness Service, guiding homicide victims’ families through trials, assisting them with criminal justice compensation, and referring them to professional counsellors.
“I am amazed by the strength of the families we support. Day after day hearing quite gruesome evidence, it is quite rewarding to be able to help these people,” Ms Willis says.
“Quite often it’s just an ear that we lend so they can actually pour out what they want to get off their chest.
“In my mind I was receiving it on behalf of a whole number of volunteers who are more than worthy … so it was a huge surprise to me but very humbling and a huge privilege to receive this award.”
Attorney general Michael Mischin said Ms Willis is the “gold standard of volunteers”.
“She has a calm and comforting presence and is at ease when dealing with victims who are distressed and upset,” Mr Mischin said.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM