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Raising her voice for the voiceless

Daniel Bouwmeester    December 16, 2023    4 min read   

From national forums to Parliament House, 17-year-old Amelia Ayris is speaking up on behalf of those who often have no voice – children.

A recent Year 12 graduate of Springfield Central State High School (SCSHS), Amelia is also an actress, model, singer, writer, producer, and the first Junior Bravehearts Youth Ambassador.

In January, she won the 2023 Logan Young Citizen of the Year award at the Logan City Council Australia Day Awards presentation.

Amelia also experienced sexual assault in her childhood and is bravely sharing her story in hopes to dramatically reduce the rate of childhood abuse.

“It is really important to protect children,” Amelia said.

“My personal experiences and what I have been through inspired me to help other kids.”

Approximately 2.5 million Australians have at some point in their childhood experienced abuse. Of those, 1.4 million have experienced sexual abuse.

At the Logan City Council Australia Day Awards in January, SCSHS Year 12 student prefect Amelia Ayris received the 2023 Young Citizen of the Year Award for advocating for children, pictured with outgoing Logan Mayor Darren Power, right. Image: Logan City Council.

Removing stigma

Amelia’s advocacy work has earned her several nominations for volunteer awards, including making it as a semi-finalist the 2022, 7 News Young Achievers Award.

Her first national public speaking event was at the National Child Protection Forum in July 2021 in Darwin. But after speaking at multiple Bravehearts galas by then, Amelia was no stranger to sharing her story with large crowds.

There, she spoke to politicians and industry decision makers about how to spot the signs of sexual abuse in children and what to do in the event of it occuring.

“The two biggest things would be to remove the stigma of shame and education,” she said.

Amelia said this applies both to children, so they are aware of the signs of sexual assault, and also to parents to know what to do in response.

“It’s about giving a voice to those that don’t have one.

“To me I have this platform and the opportunity to use my voice for good so I like to use my voice to give to those who don’t have one’ and speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

Amelia at Queensland Parliament in November for the Coercive Control Amendment Bill. All images: Amelia Ayris.

Combating Coercive Control

In November, through connections as a member of the women’s organisation Soroptimist International Logan, Amelia was asked to make an official submission for the proposed Coercive Control Legislation in Queensland.

The legislative reform, introduced in October 2022, was landmark for domestic violence prevention in Queensland families that recognises coercive control as a standalone criminal offence.

Impressed by her submission, she was invited to the State Parliament House to appear before the Legal Affairs and Safety Committee in a private hearing.

Amelia made a speech to seven State MPs discussing the importance of child safety within domestic and family violence protection (combating coercive control) and was the only person under 18 to do so.

Jordan MP Charis Mullen thanked Amelia for lending her voice.

“Our Combating Coercive Control legislation is so important – thank you for representing the voice of young people and our local community.”

On top of her charity work, Amelia is an established actor and producer where she uses film and storytelling to tell relevant stories to her peers, with an underlying theme of child safety.

In 2019 she started her own production company, AHA Pictures, and created the 2019 films Short Sleeves about friendship and unconditional love and Signed Anonymous about cybersafety.

Amelia has played Marta Von Trapp in The Sound of Music at QPAC Brisbane, has been featured in films like Living Space and The Secret Findings of Ethel P Clearwater, and appeared on the TV series Grace Beside Me.

See also: ‘Lift the Lid’ walk for mental health

‘Lift the Lid’ walk for mental health

Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.