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Women’s advocate named Heathcote’s 2018 Local Woman of the Year

9 Mar 2018

Beverly Lazarou, from the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program at Legal Aid NSW, has been honoured at the 2018 NSW Women of the Year Awards for a career spent supporting and empowering victims of domestic violence.

NSW Minister for Women Tanya Davies is pictured with award-winner Beverly Lazarou and Member for Heathcote Lee Evans

Woronora Heights woman Beverly Lazarou has been named 2018 Local Woman of the Year for Heathcote at the NSW Women of the Year Awards, in recognition of her 30-year fight against domestic violence.

Ms Lazarou, a long-time member of the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program Unit at Legal Aid NSW, has devoted her career to supporting women to escape violence.

Ms Lazarou was nominated for the honour by the State Member for Heathcote, Lee Evans MP. She said she was humbled to receive the award, presented at a gala event in Sydney on 8 March, International Women’s Day.

“I’m a great believer in equality for women, of course, but also for the next generation,” Ms Lazarou said.

“I believe strongly that children should be provided with the best possible support and opportunities to break out of the intergenerational cycle of abuse.”

Ms Lazarou said community attitudes towards domestic violence had changed considerably since she first began working in refuges in the 1980s.

“It’s no longer considered a private matter,” Ms Lazarou said.

“You used to hear people ask ‘why doesn’t she leave’. I think there is now a much better understanding that domestic violence is complex, that when the person who is assaulting you is a person you love, or is the father of your children, it’s a very different dynamic than a random assault on the street.”

“We still have a long way to go but we’ve come a long way as a community.”

Mr Evans said: “I would like to personally acknowledge Beverly’s dedication and longevity working in a sector that, although can be extremely rewarding, also requires a level of energy and passion that only certain people can maintain. Through her work she has effected change and this is something she can be truly proud of.”

Legal Aid NSW Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program Manager Michelle Jones said: “Beverly’s passion, her expertise and her many years spent advocating for victims of domestic and family violence have rightly earned her the respect of colleagues from across the domestic violence sector. It is safe to say her work has touched thousands of lives over the years.”

Media Contact: Sophie Tarr (02) 9213 5208 or 0419 212 334