She was one of eight children in her family, abandoned by their father and taken from their mother who was deemed not able to look after them and raised in a convent by Catholic nuns. Her mother fought to have the family reunited, and was eventually able to do so.
Despite her own difficult and often impoverished life, Terri has dedicated almost all her spare time to standing up for disadvantaged people. More than 20 years ago, she set up a support group for abused children and women, working with local police in order to reach those who needed the contact and support.
The group she helped establish with about five other people was called VPACE (Victorian People Against Child Exploitation), and offered a voluntary counselling service for children and families who were suffering from abuse or violence. VPACE also did a lot of advocacy work and was instrumental in getting mandatory reporting legislation enacted in Victoria.
Having achieved this legislative change, VPACE ceased to exist as a group. Terri, however, continues to receive calls from people wanting advice or support about child abuse situations.