Michael O'Connell AM APM
Michael O’Connell AM (Member of the Order of Australia) APM (Australia Police Medal) MPubPol (with Distinction) BSocSc FGLF (Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation) is a consulting Victimologist; Victim Advocate for Second Chances SA; Member of the International Network of Services for Victims of Terrorism; and Foundation Board Member of Victim Support Asia. He is also an advocate for the elimination of violence against women and children, and Patron of the Love Hope and Gratitude Foundation.
Further, Michael is a life member and current Secretary-General for the World Society of Victimology (WSV). He also chairs the WSV United Nations Liaison Committee. He has made oral and written interventions on crime victims’ rights at various United Nations forums, including the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council.
Michael has served as an ‘expert’ volunteer with the United Nations on projects, including the revision of the Handbook on Justice for Victims of Crime and the drafting on a handbook to help NGOs and others in Asia-Pacific assist and protect victims of terrorism; and participated at the Inter-Parliamentary Union Asia-Pacific Workshop on terrorism. He is currently a core expert for two United Nations lead projects: one on model legislation to protect victims of terrorism and the other to improve access to justice and treatment for victims of terrorism in a middle east country. Michael is in addition engaged in a project lead by the Convention against Torture Initiative and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that will result in a practical resource toolkit for professional, human rights-compliant policing.
He is also a Vice President for the NGO Alliance on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice that is affiliated with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Vienna Austria and the United Nations, New York.
Michael lectures as international guest faculty on Victimology, and has lectured in, among countries, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, and the United States. He as well writes in the field of Victimology and criminal justice, and volunteers as a journal editor (e.g. Journal of Victimology and Victim Justice).
From 2006 until mid-2018, Michael served as the inaugural Commissioner for Victims’ Rights, South Australia. During these terms, he took concrete steps (including retaining legal counsel) to strengthen victims’ participatory rights, and he co-chaired the National Victims of Crime Working Group that formulated Australia’s first national framework on victims’ rights and victim assistance (which the Attorneys-General of Australia endorsed in 2013) and drafted guidelines for assisting Australians as victims of terrorism overseas (which the Attorneys-General of Australia endorsed in 2018). Before his appointment as commissioner, he served as the state’s first Victims of Crime Co-ordinator and while employed as a police officer he was appointed the state’s first Victim Impact Statement Co-ordinator.
In 1995 he was awarded the Australia Police Medal (APM) for his work to advance responses to the needs of victims of crime. He was one of four finalist-nominees for the South Australia Australian of the Year 2004. In 2010 he received Victim Support Australasia’ national award for advancing Victimology and promoting victims’ rights; and, in 2017 he became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). In 2018, the World Society of Victimology presented Michael with the Irene Melup Certificate of Appreciation. In 2019, he again was one of four finalist-nominees for the South Australia Australian of the Year 2020.
Michael has been involved with the Australia Day Ambassador programme since 2009.