Meet Chris

News story
Chris is a Project Officer in the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime.
Chris is sitting in front of his desk

Chris may have only been in the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime for a year, but he has years of experience working with victims.

Chris is working on several projects with Acting Commissioner Kati Kraszlan and her team including the Department's responses to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.

 "I've always wanted to work in government," he said. "You have a chance to change policy and can help politicians make informed decisions."

The OCVC – which has been in existence for five years – helps victims obtain compensation, advises government on ways to improve services for victims and champions respect and fairness for victims within the justice system.

Before coming to Australia in 2014 with his wife and their son, who is nearly 12, Chris worked for government and not-for-profit organisations across Africa, having graduated with a degree in social work from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

Among the many projects to which he contributed were counselling, referring and resettling people affected by HIV/AIDS, and developing income-generating activities for women affected by domestic violence. In Uganda he was a welfare project officer in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Travelling across five countries – Kenya, South Sudan, Congo, Rwanda and Zambia– his most recent job in Africa involved helping settle refugees in Uganda which, he said, has a very good refugee program.

"I assessed their needs – water, food, housing, health and education – and linked them to different organisations including legal services," he said.

When pressed, Chris admitted he speaks 11 languages: "In Uganda, there are 72 different languages," he said. "English is the most widely spoken, followed by Luganda and Swahili."

Chris said most of the colleagues with whom he worked in Zambia had studied abroad, gaining masters qualifications.

"They encouraged me to consider furthering my studies," he said. "I won a scholarship to Murdoch University to do a masters in Development Studies and, coming to Perth, was shocked to discover that domestic violence is a problem in WA, that there is such a health gap between Indigenous and non-Indegenous Australians and that Aboriginal people are so over-represented in our justice system.

"I volunteered to learn more and was an emergency relief officer with the Red Cross and worked as an Executive Secretary for Oxfam WA State Committee where I participated in Oxfarm campaigns such as Close the Gap and Grow.

"When I saw this job advertised on the Government website I was excited to apply as I thought it would give me the opportunity to work with disadvantaged people."

Chris is also studying law at Edith Cowan University, while his wife is completing a degree in nursing and their son is joining high school next year.

"We're all petrolheads," Chris said. "We love watching motor sports on TV and it's our dream to watch Formula One live. We support Daniel Ricciardo as he's from WA, and also Lewis Hamilton."

Page reviewed 13 February 2020