Tanya Whitehouse receives OAM for work with domestic violence victims

Well-deserved: Tanya Whitehouse has been working with domestic violence victims for more than 25 years. Picture: Simon Bennett
Well-deserved: Tanya Whitehouse has been working with domestic violence victims for more than 25 years. Picture: Simon Bennett

She's previously been named Camden Woman of the Year and Campbelltown Citizen of the Year, and now Tanya Whitehouse has another notch to add to her belt: OAM.

The Camden resident received her Order of Australia medal in this year's Australia Day Honours for service to the community through welfare initiatives.

Ms Whitehouse has coordinated the Macarthur Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service for more than 25 years and has worked tirelessly to help victims of domestic and family violence in Macarthur.

She said it was a shock to receive the honour.

"I got the letter in the mail from the Governor-General and I had was very surprised," Ms Whitehouse said.

"It's a real honour. I'm flattered to have been considered. I have no idea who nominated me, but I just want to say thank you for thinking I was worthy of this.

"I feel very lucky.

"You don't do this job for the commendations, so I'm feeling very grateful."

You don't do this job for the commendations, so I'm feeling very grateful.

Tanya Whitehouse, OAM

In addition to her work with the Court Advocacy Service, Ms Whitehouse serves as convenor of the Camden/Wollondilly Domestic Violence Committee, is a member of the Campbelltown Domestic Violence Commitee, is appointed to the NSW Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council and supports the Men's Behaviour Change Program run by Campbelltown BaptistCare.

She was also awarded a Justice Medal and a Ministerial Award from the NSW Deputy Premier, both in 2015.

One of Ms Whitehouse's biggest fights of late has been the call for greater resources at Camden and Picton courts to handle the vast number of domestic violence cases, with women waiting up to 10 months to have their cases heard.

The 52-year-old said her biggest drive was empowering women.

"I want them to feel that they are safe and supported," she said.

"If I could say one thing to these women, it's that domestic violence is not okay.

"Everyone has the right to feel safe in their home, and if that is not what's happening to you, you can access support."

Ms Whitehouse said her family was very proud of the award. She is looking forward to attending the official OAM ceremony later in the year.