Dedicating more than 50 years to the rights of people involved in the criminal justice system has earned Carmel Benjamin AM the title of the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award.
Radiating compassion and a powerful sense of justice, she received the honour for her work as a victim counsellor, official prison visitor, board member, ambassador and consultant on ministerial advisory committees. She has also established vital initiatives like the ‘woman 2 woman’ program that helps women transition from prison into the community.
In 1980, Ms Benjamin founded the Court Network, a volunteer-based organisation devoted to the welfare of court users at Prahran Courthouse. With her ongoing involvement, the organisation now helps more than 190,000 court users a year, across 36 courts throughout Victoria and Queensland.
Now in its seventh year, the Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards were created to recognise and celebrate the value and impact of volunteering across Victoria in building our communities, services and connections.
This year, 247 nominations were received across the categories of Service, Leadership, Impact and Teamwork, and 57 volunteers were recognised for their invaluable contributions.
See the 2019 Victorian Premier's Volunteer Champions Awards for more information and the names of all the recipients.