Dear colleagues and students
It is with tremendous sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr Aisling Heath (40), who died in her sleep on the evening of 28 June 2019.
Dr Heath was a senior researcher at the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit (GHJRU). She held a PhD in sociology from Trinity College Dublin, with her doctoral thesis specialising in peace building, ethnic conflict management and the sociology of post-conflict countries. She was the senior researcher on a project which aims to improve case outcomes for sexual offences survivors across three provinces within three sexual offences courts. Her research interests included the prevention of domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence on children, and the role of child protection systems within the justice system and schools.
Professor Lillian Artz, director of the GHJRU, said that Dr Heath will be remembered as a skilled and compassionate researcher, a kind-hearted leader and a powerful advocate for the right of women and children to be free from violence and to receive the justice and care that they deserve. Dr Heath was well respected in her field, and her work over the three and a half years that she was with the GHJRU made a profound contribution to the management of sexual offences matters within the South African criminal justice system.
She was also involved in many professional committees and violence prevention advocacy groups as well as school and community projects outside of her work life. Dr Heath, who hailed from Ireland, was known for her tireless energy, her incredible project management skills and her sharp and side-splitting wit. She was much loved and deeply respected by many and will be remembered as a most extraordinary researcher, human rights advocate and loyal friend.
Dr Heath is survived by her husband, Duane, and her children, Emma and Kian.
Memorial arrangements are being finalised and will be communicated by the department.
The university has reached out to offer support to the Heath family, and our sincere condolences go out to them and all who knew Dr Heath.
The UCT Executive
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