Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts

Affiliate Fulbright Scholar


Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts is a proud Bundjalung Widubul-Wiabul Woman and advocate for Human Rights. Vanessa is a lawyer, writer, storyteller and survivor of the Family Policing System (also known as the foster ‘care’ / Child welfare system) in Australia where she was forcibly removed at the age of 10 1/2. As a survivor, and human rights lawyer, Vanessa continues to drive national discourse in this area. Vanessa’s passion stems from understanding the way the law has disproportionally impacted her community and herself. Vanessa won the Australian Human Rights medal awarded by the Australian Human rights commission which her acceptance speech saw global recognition and responses. This award recognised her ongoing advocacy and work that Vanessa continues to do for Human Rights globally and nationally in Australia. Vanessa is also a 2023 Fulbright scholar where she is building international and national relationships in the field of human rights, Family policing and the rights of indigenous people, based at the Penn Carey Law School. Vanessa is also completing her PhD at the University of Technology where her research is centred around decolonisation and sovereign human rights beyond the western realm whilst implementing Abolitionist approaches to transforming family policing in so-called Australia. Vanessa is currently writing her first book entitled Long Yarn Short: We Are Still Here, for the children that didn’t get to come home, those yet to come home and the ones who saw neither. Vanessa comes from a long line of Blak activists who have resisted the ongoing occupation on sovereign lands of First Nations people and continues to follow the strong blood lines."