Joplin Higgins OAM

Filed in Just In by June 13, 2021

JOPLIN Higgins has been honoured with an Order of Australia award in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list, in recognition of her service to the law and dedication to redressing family violence in Australia.

Ms Higgins said she was surprised received an email from the Governor General two weeks ago advising her she will receive the award, which she described as very humbling.

“I am just really humbled to be honest, I’m not even sure who nominated me for the award and it simply isn’t something I’ve ever thought about, so receiving the email was surprising and very humbling,” said Ms Higgins.

Ms Higgins has dedicated her career to working in regional law and redressing family violence, including researching rehabilitation programs for perpetrators of domestic violence in the United States. (Read her most recent paper: Rehabilitating domestic violence perpetrators).

“When I first started working in the family violence space I was mocked for standing up for victims of family violence, many of the arguments I was running in court matters were trying to get family violence understood as more than physical violence, it’s also about controlling and coercive behaviours, including financial abuse and finally all the doors I’ve been knocking on and all the submissions I’ve made are finally be answered as people have gained a better understanding of family violence,” said Ms Higgins.

“It is finally on the lips of everyone in our community and victims are being heard for the first time ever in Australia,” she said.

Joplin Higgins OAM.

“Victims weren’t heard because general consensus that what happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors and that has pervaded every aspect of people’s lives, including the political and policing arenas and it’s not a issue that should ever have been behind closed doors.

“My main focus particularly over the last five years, is how do we engage perpetrators in the conversation of domestic violence, because they are the only ones who can actually stop domestic violence,” she said. 

“There are steps we can take and we need to be looking at the rest of the world, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, but we are at least now starting that conversation,” said Joplin Higgins.

Joplin’s incredible drive and passion is fuelled by her resolve to give voice to people who are not heard and don’t have a voice, this extends not only to victims of family violence, but also children within the court system. 

As an independent children’s lawyer, Ms Higgins has always gone above and beyond to understand her youngest clients including attending their schools, sporting events and their homes to observe first-hand what is important to them and be in a position to champion their best interests.

Ms Higgins said giving voice to people continues to be her motivation.

“I 100 percent do this to help people who don’t have a voice and I am really privileged in my life and I always like to give back,” Ms Higgins said.

“There is a quote I love from Paulo Coelho, ‘the world is changed by your example, not your opinion’ and hopefully I can continue to lead by example,” Joplin Higgins said.

Joplin’s list of achievements as recognised by the Governor General in the Queen’s birthday awards:

Law

  • Independent Children’s Lawyer, Legal Aid Commission NSW, since 2015.
  • Managing Director and Lawyer, Joplin Lawyers 2013.
  • Panellist, Women’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Service, since 2017.
  • Advisor to large corporations on Family and Domestic Violence policy and on identifying toxic masculinity on the workplace.
  • Admitted to Supreme Court of New South Wales, 2007.
  • Lawyer, since 2007.

Law Society of New South Wales

  • Member, Family Law Committee, 2019.
  • Member, Children’s Legal Issues Committee, 2019.
  • Committee Member, Audit of the Criminal Law Court Efficiency, 2019.

Hunter Valley Law Practitioners Association

  • Committee Member, since 2019.
  • Presenter, Family Violence Conferences.

Community

  • Supporter and sponsor of a range of community groups, including to women’s shelters and services, and through drought assistance programs.
  • Works with regional women on varying topics to assist regional talent development.
  • Board Member, Jana’s Campaign, USA, since 2019.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Business of the Year, Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce, 2019.
  • Business Leader of the Year, Singleton Chamber of Business, 2018.
  • Business of the Year, Singleton Chamber of Business, 2018.
  • Certificate of Achievement, Regional Achievement and Community Awards, 2018.
  • Social Change Fellowship, Westpac, 2016. (For research into Domestic Violence Perpetrator programs and their efficiency to reduce domestic violence).

 

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