College News

Mercy Medallion Winner

Throughout her 27-year career in the Queensland domestic violence legal sector, Angela Lynch has developed a deep understanding of the issues confronting women who have experienced domestic and sexual violence.

A lawyer and advocate for survivors of domestic and family violence, Angela uses her practical knowledge and experience to drive law reform, policy, community legal education and safer client outcomes.

A former St Mary’s student, graduating in 1985, Angela says her years at the College provided her with the values, education and grounding that have informed her personal and professional life to this day.

“St Mary’s taught me to pursue excellence but to do so with compassion and integrity. It taught me to work hard and always strive for better, but to be humble in my approach,” she said.

Throughout high school, Angela was well known for her enthusiasm to speak out on issues she was passionate about, or where she identified social injustice in society.

“Growing up in Ipswich teaches you resilience – you are not going to fall at the first hurdle. A fundamental principle of the Mercy Mission is social justice and indeed, in this pursuit, I have dedicated my professional life so far.”

A leader in her field, in 2019, Angela was awarded an AM in the Australia Day Honour’s List for her service to victims of domestic and family violence.

Until recently, Angela was the CEO of Women’s Legal Service (WLS). WLS provides free state-wide legal and social work services to women who are impacted by domestic violence. During her time with the organisation, Angela helped build safer futures for Queensland women and their children. She champions frontline operations, external advocacy, client services and fundraising.

Angela says being able to use the lived experience of survivors of domestic and sexual violence to inform her advocacy work is very rewarding. “From these learnings we identify gaps in the way the current legal system responds or does not respond to our client’s issues and we advocate for positive change.”

Recently, St Mary’s College acknowledged Angela’s service to the community, awarding her the 2021 Mercy Medallion. Established in 2015, the award recognises an individual who has displayed and acted with a commitment, duty or personal ethos that epitomises the Mercy tradition. The award was presented at the annual St Mary’s College P&F Gala Dinner.

Principal Paula Goodwin said Angela’s courage and humility in her professional life was admirable.

“Angela’s advocacy for women who are experiencing some of the most difficult of circumstances shows true Mercy spirit,” Ms Goodwin said. “Reaching out to help others, and to pull them up with kindness, compassion and without judgement follows the example of Catherine  McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy.”

“We are proud of all of our alumnae. It is a great privilege for the College to have educated so many confident, compassionate women who are making a positive impact on the world around them.”

Past winners of the Mercy Medallion include Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk, Olympic Swimmer Leah Neale and Astrophysicist and NASA Scientist Jessie Christiansen.

Read more about the Mercy Medallion and past recipients here.