CHILD Protection Warrior Freda Briggs Dies
April 6, 2016
Leading Australia child protection expert Freda Briggs has been hailed a "warrior for children" who took advocacy for their welfare out of the shadows.
Dr Briggs' family on Thursday confirmed the "wonderful mother, grandmother and sister" died at the Royal Adelaide Hospital the previous night, aged 85.
"A fierce intellect and determination to change the understanding of protecting children from injustice has been a force that has propelled her onto the world stage," they said in a statement.
Dr Briggs' concern for the plight of children began when she first encountered victims of abuse while working as a policewoman in London in the 1950s.
It grew into social work and teaching, where she focused on the need for increased awareness of child abuse, and in 2003 she co-authored a major report into the Anglican church's handling of sexual abuse complaints.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the state's children had lost "one of their most powerful advocates".
"Freda's advocacy took child sexual abuse out of the shadows and into the light," he said.
Child Protection Minister Susan Close said the University of South Australia emeritus professor showed uncompromising dedication to most vulnerable.
"South Australia has lost a warrior for children," she tweeted.
Dr Briggs moved to UniSA in 1980 and later established the world's first multi-disciplinary child protection course.
"Her passion and determination for her work was always unbridled. She was indefatigable," vice-chancellor David Lloyd said.
"She was the champion everyone wants on their side - dedicated, intelligent and brave - a force to be reckoned with."
In 2005, Dr Briggs was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours for tirelessly raising awareness of child abuse and neglect.