Dr Ann O'Neill

Founder of Angel Hands, inspiring motivational speaker

Dr Ann O'Neill is the survivor of a horrific crime who has gone on to use her own experience to selflessly and tirelessly help others while also improving understanding around the needs of victims of crime. Ann is also a specialist in the areas of trauma, criminal victimisation and advocacy. 

In 1994, her estranged husband broke into the home she shared with her two young children, shooting her and killing them before turning the gun on himself. Rather than let her life slip away, she has turned her tragedy into a calling, speaking at hundreds of events.

After recovering physically from the shooting that took her children, Ann fought the desire to cave in on herself and kept a promise she had made to her children: she went back to school. Ultimately earning her PHD with a dissertation researching the social support for secondary victims of serious crime, she graduated from Social Work with First Class Honours in 2001. Her final thesis led to the establishment of the first web-based support source for victims of crime in Australia, known as Angel Hands Inc. Angel Hands' services encourage awareness of the elements essential to promote and accelerate a person's recovery from trauma and as well as asserting their needs within the wider community.

Ann became the inaugural Convenor of the first WA Homicide Victims Support Group and, upon graduating, she set out on speaking tours, raising awareness for family violence and helping others cope with life after homicide. Her community work has been recognised by some of the top individuals and organisations in Australia.

As a speaker, her specialties include living with death and explaining how she turned loss into a fight for justice, hope, and love, rather than allowing it to ruin her life. Ann O'Neill has a unique gift for drawing people in and forcing them to look at the deepest parts of themselves, helping to create memorable, inspiring events in both small and large venues.

Large corporate firms expanding, restructuring and/or retrenching have engaged Ann to work with them to provide motivation and purpose to the lives and work of their staff. So too have government departments and community groups.

Despite the unimaginable grief and tragedy that she has suffered, Ann O'Neill is able to deliver funny, engaging and well-structured presentations that will not only inspire your team, but also equip them with tools to overcome and thrive personally and professionally.

Ann O'Neill talks about:

• Living with death and laughing at life and learning more
• Self-care for professionals working in high stress environments
• Voyages of discovery
• Victims of crime and justice
• Living with death and laughing at life requires, hope, humility compassion and a desire for justice

Client testimonials

Excellent speaking, topic and content were well suited to audience and delivery was personable and honest.

City of Swan

I am writing to personally thank you for speaking at our recent forum for journalists and student journalists … Evaluations tell us journalists found the event both interesting and informative, with many now realising their words can directly affect people experiencing violence.

Dept for Community Development

I was extremely impressed with Ms O’Neill’s skills as a trainer and her ability to get people to engage with and deeply reflect on the topic. … The formal feedback process saw staff give the sessions some of the highest feedback ever recorded for an internal training session. Further, I received numerous unsolicited informal comments from staff about how the training had affected them and challenged in a positive way their views and how they work. As a result of the training, I saw some tangible changes in staff attitudes and practices.

FDVU Legal Aid WA

I just wanted to say how brilliant it was seeing you. Your presentation was electrifying, the feedback from the students was very positive and many made specific mention of your presentation in the written feedback. The course went very well ... and your contribution played a huge part in making it successful.

Crime Research Centre, University of Western Australia

I am always impressed by the courage and bravery you [Ann] demonstrate – both in getting on with your life – given the tragedy you have suffered – and also in the positive way you are assisting individual victims and also organisations.

Head of Home Office Victims Unit, UK

Our sincere thanks for giving such an inspirational and moving speech at the recent launch. It made the event really meaningful for everyone.

Ministry of Justice WA