Recipient of AFP Bravery Medal for protecting her partners on the line of duty
Carla is a passionate speaker on resilience, inspiration, and following your passion. With an incredibly remarkable and diverse background, she demonstrates true bravery in her career and personal life and encourages audiences to do the same.
While working as a General Duties Police Officer, Carla was seriously injured after a man suspected of stealing a mobility scooter sicced his large American Pit Bull on her. She had deliberately run at the dog to protect her partners from being attacked and, in doing so, left herself vulnerable.
Carla was hospitalised for several days as the dog had nearly ripped her calf muscle off and had fully exposed the bone beneath. She underwent surgeries on her arm and leg, requiring around 100 stitches. Additionally, she was also diagnosed with PTSD and had to face the possibility of never being a fully operational police officer again. With the help of her loved ones and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Carla overcame the unimaginable and grew stronger out of her place of pain.
For her bravery, Carla was awarded the Australian Federal Police Commissioner's Bravery medal, the highest award given to Officers who put themselves in harm's way to protect others.
This protective instinct is not new to Carla as she had spent most of her childhood in survival mode, protecting her mother from her father's abuse. This pattern of abuse continued into adulthood, where she, too, became a victim of domestic violence. However, Carla showed remarkable resilience and determination to stop this cycle by seeking help from both professionals and friends. To empower herself and build her self-esteem, she completed a Degree in Criminology and Psychology, chasing her dreams to become part of the AFP. In doing so, Carla overcame significant trauma, facing adversity with incredible resilience and drive and using her experience to help others.
Carla is undergoing a post-graduate study, having uncovered a passion for exposure therapy with Police who are returning after trauma and the overall welfare support for Police, Government and Private sectors employees. She has become a role model for troubled youth with a passion for guiding them onto positive paths and teaching the importance of surrounding themselves with positive people.
Carla also speaks on building resilience, domestic violence, mental health stigma, and PTSD, learning to embrace your vulnerability and recognising your accountability to chase your dreams. She regularly speaks to police recruits and in the Corporate sphere to provide them with the inspiration, tools and the motivation to hold themselves accountable for their recovery and seek help when needed.