About The Lisa Harnum Foundation

Lisa Harnum Foundation – a voice for women in the Hills district of Sydney

Our Vision

  • Where all families live in safety, free from fear, free from domestic violence.

Our Mission

  • The Lisa Harnum Foundation supports and empowers families affected by domestic violence while striving to prevent and end the cycle of abuse through education and social change. We aim to be part of a community in which domestic violence is eradicated for everyone by everyone.

Why focus on Lisa Harnum?

lisa-harnum-in-australia

Lisa Harnum was thirty years old when she died tragically as a result of domestic violence

Lisa Harnum was thirty years old when she died tragically as a result of her then fiancé Simon Gittany throwing her from the fifteenth floor balcony of their apartment in the City of Sydney.

She had long been intimidated and controlled by this man and was fearful of him. When Lisa tried to escape, Gittany became aggressive, dragged her back in to their apartment and ended her life.

Here’s what Lisa’s mother, Joan, says:

“On behalf of the family of Lisa Cecilia Harnum, we would like to thank Aileen Mountifield and all those who have created this Foundation in Lisa’s name.

Lisa Cecilia was a special, beautiful person with a huge smile and lots of hugs for everyone. She would turn heads wherever she went and light up a room with her gracious presence. But her beauty was not just physical for you also saw the beauty within. Her caring, loving spirit shone bright wherever she went. 

Lisa Harnum and her mother, Joan, loved to wear animal prints dresses went they went out together - image

Lisa and her mother, Joan, loved to wear animal prints dresses went they went out together

Always helping those when she saw the need, whether friend or foe, and always trying to save animals. When she sensed a need, her heart and her loving arms reached out to help. She would say “people can ask for help but animals and children cannot so we must be their voice”.

We extended that to those in abusive relations and situations, who are being threatened physically and emotionally with harm to themselves or those they love. Lisa endured a life of bullying from grade school to adulthood.

She also battled an eating disorder, yet she fought to overcome both and to reach out to those enduring the same struggles and offer help, compassion and understanding. She did not want others to suffer as she had.

Lisa’s loss to our family is devastating and the pain endless

Lisa’s loss to our family is devastating and the pain endless - image

Lisa’s loss to our family is devastating and the pain endless. Whether directly or indirectly, every one of us will be affected by some kind of violence, physical or mental, during our lifetime.

We miss her so much. She was a beautiful, compassionate, loving angel whose life was ended too soon.

Whether directly or indirectly, every one of us will be affected by some kind of violence, physical or mental, during our lifetime

The circumstances of Lisa Cecilia’s untimely death are the main reason this Foundation has been created. Whether directly or indirectly, every one of us will be affected by some kind of violence, physical or mental, during our lifetime. Yet we tend to believe it will get better, ignore it, or turn away instead of facing it head on. The only way for it to diminish, for in truth it will never be eradicated, is for each and every one of us to take a stand and say “STOP! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. STOP THE VIOLENCE. MAKE A DIFFERENCE! “

When we witness it, we must report it, or, if the situation safely allows, stop it. A few seconds can mean the difference between life and death. If we know someone who is violent, either in our families or an acquaintance or friend, we must intervene and get that person help before it causes the loss of a life.

It is shameful to ignore domestic violence until it is too late, both for perpetrators and their victim(s).

It is not shameful to confess to having someone in our family, or knowing someone close to you, who is capable of harming someone. It is shameful to ignore it until it is too late, both for them and their victim(s).

The death of a loved one, especially a child, is devastating but when it is from a violent, senseless act, the emotional scars never heal. It creates such overwhelming sadness and emptiness. Yet the sadness is shared both by the victim’s family over the eternal loss of their loved one, and the perpetrators family from the temporary absence of their loved one. No one wins. Both families have their lives changed forever.

Out of the ashes rises a spark of hope 

lease do not turn away for one day you, or a family member or friend, may need the Foundation. You always think it could not happen to you. That is what we thought and now we are without our beautiful Angel. - image

Please do not turn away for one day you, or a family member or friend, may need the Foundation. You always think it could not happen to you. That is what we thought and now we are without our beautiful Angel.

The lives that will be saved by this Foundation will make it easier for those who loved Lisa Cecilia, to realize that out of the ashes rises a spark of hope, a new beginning for those who will be given a second chance. It is a way for all of us to reach out with our hearts and arms to those in need and say “I am here, I am your voice, I will help you”.

Please do not turn away for one day you, or a family member or friend, may need the Foundation. You always think it could not happen to you. That is what we thought and now we are without our beautiful Angel.

Be somebody’s tomorrow, somebody’s light in the darkness, somebody’s helping hand.”

Many women are like Lisa in the Sydney Hills Shire

There are many women like Lisa who endure one or multiple forms of abuse. Some women report the abuse to the authorities, others sit in silence because of fear, shame, guilt and an overriding sense of isolation.

No one will believe me; I have no one to talk to.”

What is domestic abuse?

Abuse comes in many forms. It is not always physical like punching, hitting, scratching, pushing etc. (Click here to read more). These other types of abuse are often very hard to prove as there are no bruises. However, the toll abuse takes on the individual is overwhelming. Internal scars may take longer to heal than external ones.

How we can help

We are passionate about contributing to putting an end to domestic violence. The Foundation is but one voice, however, we can join with many other voices to give ONE BIG SHOUT that society will no longer tolerate abuse toward women and their families.

The Lisa Harnum Foundation has been established to reach out to women who need help. This help will come in the form of information, support counselling, education and group work.

We want Lisa’s name never to be forgotten. That’s why we named this Foundation after her, with the gracious permission of Lisa’s mother, Joan, to whom we are very grateful.

Finally, we believe in making a difference

We aren’t just talk. We are people who will act to eradicate this epidemic.

Aileen Mountifield,
Founder & Executive Director

Lisa Harnum Foundation Board

Our Board Members