Judy Atkinson (Emeritus Professor - SCU) identifies as a Jiman / Bundjalung (Aboriginal Australian) woman. With a PhD from QUT, her primary academic and research focus is in the area of violence and relational trauma, and healing for Indigenous, and indeed all peoples. She was awarded the Carrick (Neville Bonner) Award in 2006 for her Innovative Curriculum Development and Teaching Practice, and in 2011 the Fritz Redlich award for Mental Health and Human Rights from the Harvard University Global Mental Health Trauma and Recovery program.
Karen Bevan is the General Manager – Service Delivery (Community) at Settlement Services International. She combines her deep experience in the NGO sector with qualifications in human rights law and communications to play a key role in strategy, advocacy and policy. Karen oversees SSI’s employment, disability and child and family services across NSW. Karen has previously held roles as CEO of Girl Guides Australia and of Playgroup NSW and has been President of the NSW Council of Social Services and a Board member of the Australian Council of Social Service and the Intellectual Disability Rights Service.
Chris Boyle has worked in the child protection and family support sector for over 25 years. Starting his career as a social worker, Chris is considered one of Queensland’s longest standing and most respected child protection experts. He has a passion for social justice and giving a voice and opportunity to the most vulnerable children, young people and families in our community. In 2016, pursuing his passion to implement the recommendations of his Churchill Fellowship and reform the child protection system, Chris commenced his transformation from a social worker to a social entrepreneur, founding the StandbyU Foundation - a not for profit and charity start up that harnesses the power of technology and relationships to connect those vulnerable children at risk of abuse to those who care.
Lula is a strong advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse, childhood and adult domestic violence. Having lived these experiences herself, Lula understands the complexity of responses needed at the individual, organisational, and societal level to effectively address sexual, domestic and family violence. Lula is working towards shifting the focus towards accountability, on who is using abuse and violence, to reduce its prevalence and the impact of these behaviours before serious harm is done.
Julianna's career with the Ombudsman spans 18 years. For the past ten years she has led the strategic projects division, which houses a team of investigators and researchers as well as the Ombudsman’s Aboriginal Unit, youth liaison officer, and community education and training unit. The division also has responsibility for child and family systemic projects. Prior to this, Julianna managed the Ombudsman’s police division.
Martin is the Chief Executive of Menslink and joined in March 2011 after a twenty-five year career in both the private and public sectors, including nearly ten years running his own business and a few years as a senior Federal Public Servant. Since joining Menslink, he has significantly expanded the reach of our direct support programs, more than quadrupling the number of young men accessing our free counselling and mentoring services. An active campaigner for young men, Martin speaks to schools, businesses and community groups across the region about issues facing young men, their families and communities, including family violence, mental health, drugs and suicide – still the leading cause of death in men under 40.
Project and Stakeholder Management | Social Impact Investment | Award Winning Arts and Culture Creative | Ambassador
Ballina Gee has 20 years experience building communities, advocacy and stakeholder engagement including Ambassador Advocacy roles as Pacific Diva and has a social enterprise called Housing With A Purpose. Previous initiatives involve leading programs and advocacy campaigns for refugee and multiculturalism social cohesion, environmental refugee impact, community safety and mental health related to trauma induced experiences such as the impact of domestic violence, childhood abuse and seeking asylum.
Emma Gierschick is a White Ribbon advocate and specialist for children with a disability facing family violence. She is a survivor of both breast cancer and severe family violence, and is the former step mother or guardian to 6 children including 2 boys with autism, and is the birth mother of her 6 year old daughter Amelia who has Down syndrome and an intellectual disability.
Gavin is the Founder of the Disruptor’s Handbook, one of Australia’s leading independent strategy and innovation companies. Gavin advises boards and leadership on innovation strategy, marketing, data-driven product development and corporate venturing. He leads labs and accelerator programs, coaches startups and is a sought after public speaker. Gavin is also the Chair of Vibewire, a youth-led social enterprise based in Sydney, Australia.
Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who has been writing and researching about domestic abuse since 2014. Before that, she was a producer for ABC Radio, a Middle East correspondent for The Global Mail, and an investigative journalist for Background Briefing. Jess was listed in Foreign Policy's top 100 women to follow on Twitter, and also as one of the 30 most influential people under 30 by Cosmopolitan magazine (two publications rarely listed in the same sentence). Her reporting has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards. Her book, SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO, the first to chart the phenomenon of domestic abuse in Australia, is in stores now.
Rebecca is the Head of Product at dutyof.care, where she combines 20 years of experience in technology with her passion for making a difference. Rebecca has held roles in many for purpose organisations, and has been highly involved in the development of a number of web-based applications that support organisations to achieve better outcomes for the communities they serve. Rebecca started with dutyof.care in early 2019 and is determined to see dutyof.care enabling organisations to improve the safety of children in their care.
Craig is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and has had a long journey to recovery, seen countless counsellors and survived multiple suicide attempts. Craig’s experiences of the criminal justice system in trials against two of his three perpetrators, compelled him to co-found Survivors & Mates Support Network (SAMSN), in 2010. As CEO, Craig and his team have developed SAMSN to be Australia’s leading support organisation for male survivors of child sexual abuse and their families.
Andrew Johnson was appointed to his current role in January 2015. He has been working to advance the rights of children and young people for close to 30 years. He has held senior leadership positions in Save the Children, Plan International, ChildFund Alliance, Australian Council of Social Service and the Australian Republican Movement. He was an Adjunct Professor at NYU, developing and teaching courses on child and human rights.
Dr Kieran Le Plastrier
Dr Le Plastrier completed medical school as a surgical trainee, before discovering his passion for psychiatry. He served as president of the hospital residents’ society from 2007 to 2008.
Ruth works in EY’s Operations Team leading Indigenous program transformation – design, implementation and evaluation. Ruth is a lawyer specialising in commercial, administrative and criminal law. Her professional and technical experience includes legal and advocacy, program and project management, supply chain, research and evaluation, change management and Aboriginal cultural skills, capabilities and knowledge. Ruth is currently appointed as an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute, a Board Member of the Indigenous Advisory Group – Queensland State Library, Prisoner Legal Services and Queensland Law Society’s Reconciliation and Advancement Committee. Her professional and technical experience includes legal and advocacy, program and project management, supply chain, research and evaluation, change management and bama cultural skills, knowledge and wellbeing. Ruth has extensive experience designing indigenous led transformational programs, strategies and legal reform across urban, regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with and for First Nations Children, clans and communities.
Tracy McLeod Howe
With a legal background, significant CEO and senior leadership experience, have headed up complex projects with diverse stakeholders. An advocate & speaker with a commitment to human rights - particularly the rights of children - working for inclusive communities & addressing gender inequality. Have experience in gov & non-gov roles (inc. nearly 5 years in NGO frontline service delivery and many current appointments and advisory roles).
Uncle Charles (Chicka) Madden
Uncle Chicka is a respected Sydney Elder. He has lived in and around the Redfern and inner city area most of his life serving the Aboriginal community as Director or the Aboriginal Medical Service, member & representative of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, Director of the Aboriginal Hostels NSW and is a life member of the Redfern All Blacks. Along with being an active community leader, Uncle Chicka is also an important artist creating a number of ceramic sculptures and paintings inspired by his Gadigal country. He has been commissioned to create a number of works including a painting for St Vincent’s Health Australia and an installation for the Redfern Community Centre’s Elders Lounge in collaboration with Nicole Monks.
Annika McCaffrey is an advocate for children and young people who have been affected by family violence. She is the creator of "The Hidden Victors" campaign that features young 'victors' of family violence in a video. She is an independent lived experience consultant who advises various organisations and services in terms of their practice framework who help children and young people. She looks into the perspective of young people who have been affected by family violence, and uses her lived experience to create positive systematic change for children and young people.
Kathie Melocco is a multi award winning PR and Marketing practitioner, responsible for some of our most successful social justice campaigns. In 2018 she shifted gear, retrained and founded WOW – World of WorkChaplaincy. WOW’s first precinct chaplaincy service is located in Barangaroo which upon completion will be home to a workforce of some 23,000 people daily and is already establishing itself as an important financial precinct. And no, before you get all paranoid about religious matters, Kathie makes clear it’s all about spirituality. She says, we all require spirituality for our own wellness. It is a critical plinth in mental wellness – mind, body, spirit. WOW she says is just like EAP only Kathie calls it CAPS – Chaplaincy Assistance Program for business.
Darren was admitted to legal practice in 1986, after studying Law/Science at Melbourne University, including a year of Forensic Medicine. He worked as a Solicitor for a short time before becoming a County Court Judge’s Associate in 1988. He was the Secretary of the Family Law Bar Association for a number of years; he was also a committee member for trainee Barristers and was Chairperson for Patterson’s List of Barristers. Darren has recently formed a charity, TO BE LOVED NETWORK, which aims to give children a voice whilst navigating parental separation and divorce. He produced a film on family violence heralding international acclaim and winning best film awards. His new film TOMMY is due ‘for release in August, 2019.
Rachael Natoli is an accomplished primary school teacher, who drove successful change and performance within the education sector, co-authoring a recommendation paper on the importance of learning through play and its continuation past the first year of school, which particularly aids the learning of Summer-born boys. Rachael moved to Australia from the UK eleven years ago, and is a mum to 6 year old twin boys. In 2015, Rachael fled an abusive relationship which involved physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse. Four years later, Rachael can now call herself a survivor and is dedicating her life to advocating domestic abuse prevention and support through the charity she founded, the Lokahi Foundation to help support and empower other women and families to escape these abusive relationships and reclaim their lives. Rachael says there is life beyond domestic abuse but it takes time, support and most of all the determination to move forward, reclaim your life and truly break free from the abuse. She shares her experience and offers hope for victims and survivors. Rachael has attained a postgraduate certificate in Early Professional Development and BA (Hons) in Primary Education from Leeds Beckett University. She is also the recipient of three Duke of Edinburgh Awards, including the gold standard. Rachael loves sport and is passionate about her team, the Sydney Roosters, which she supports religiously.
Michael Salter is a Scientia Fellow and Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of New South Wales. His research is focused on child abuse and gendered violence, including primary prevention, complex trauma and technologically-facilitated abuse. He is the author of two books, Organised Sexual Abuse (Routledge, 2013) and Crime, Justice and Social Media (Routledge, 2017), and a range of papers on child abuse and gendered violence.
In 2014 Janet was appointed Executive Director of the NDIS Reform Group for the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and led the Commonwealth negotiations and transition to the NDIS across NSW Government. From her experience in caring directly for children and adults, and in designing and running care programs, Janet has seen how they both intersect – to be effective, good programs and systems need good people, and good people need good programs and systems.
Natalie is the Queensland Public Guardian, an independent statutory appointment, and CEO of the Office of the Public Guardian. Natalie is passionate about advocating for people experiencing vulnerability. Her career has been underpinned by her drive to protect the rights and interests of children and young people in the child protection system, in addition to adults who have impaired decision-making capacity.
CEO, Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies and Director, Kinmond Consulting
Prior to his appointment as the CEO of Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies in February 2019, Steve was the NSW Community & Disability Services Commissioner and Deputy Ombudsman (Human Services) for 15 years. Before that, he was the Assistant Ombudsman (Police) for eight years. At the NSW Ombudsman, Steve had legislative responsibility for reviewing and promoting improvements in community and disability services; reviewing the deaths of people with disability and children; handling complaints about government and non-government community and disability services; and ensuring relevant agencies appropriately respond to reportable incidents involving people with disability in supported accommodation and allegations of child abuse made against ‘employees’. He has also had extensive involvement in reviewing service delivery and justice issues affecting Aboriginal communities. Steve has close to 30 years of investigative experience, and has also worked as a solicitor and run his own consultancy practice.
Director, Child Safe Organisations
Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Laws (Hons), Diploma of Legal Practice, Executive Master of Public Administration
Arabella joined Gidget Foundation Australia in 2017 after a lengthy career in the media industry, working in management for small business as well as publicly listed entities in both Australia and the UK. Arabella was formerly General Manager for iSUBSCRiBE, an online magazine subscription business, based in London. Prior to this, Arabella was the Director of Communications for Australian media entity PBL Media as well as its subsidiary businesses the Nine Network Australia and Bauer Media (formerly ACP Magazines). Before joining ACP Magazines, Arabella was Global General Manager – Marketing & Sales for Australian icon brand, RM Williams. Arabella recently participated in the closed group to devise the Australian Government’s Women’s Health Strategy for 2020 to 2030 in Canberra and she was a finalist in The CEO Magazines’ 2018 and 2019 Not-For-Profit Executive of the Year Award and a Finalist in the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards for 2019. Arabella holds a Masters Degree in Communication Management from UTS and is a Non-Executive Director of Future Women, an organisation supporting the advancement of women to connect, learn and lead.
Stuart has over a decade’s experience in the world of big data. After working for some of Australia’s biggest companies in governance, auditing, and data visualisation, he has turned his focus towards the role that technology can play in protecting children and vulnerable people. He is passionate about issues of social justice and is dedicated to seeing a real change in the way organisations approach child protection.
Andrew is a passionate child rights and international development leader with more than 20 years of experience leading teams in the areas of strategy, advocacy, campaigns, policy, communications and marketing. Andrew is currently the Director of Communications and Advocacy at End Violence. Prior to this, he held the position of Senior Director of Advocacy and Global Campaigns at World Vision International, leading the Organisation's advocacy campaigns in the areas of child health and ending violence against children across 70 countries. Andrew has also led global and national coalition campaigns in support of the Sustainable Development Goals and held the position of co-convenor of the Make Poverty History campaign in Australia. He holds a Master of International Studies, and Bachelor of Commerce and Arts and previously held the position of honorary research fellow at Deakin University.
Senior Manager, Multicultural Child and Family
Ghassan was instrumental in establishing Settlement Services International Multicultural Foster Care Program and has been a leader in the program since 2013. He is the Senior Operations Manager for the Settlement Services International (SSI) Foster Care Service. He has extensive experience in community development, training, education, child protection and out-of-home care, having worked with government and non-government organisations. Ghassan leads the Quality, Innovation and Practice Team (QIP) at SSI to support best practice and consistency. He also supervises the Family Preservation and Restoration programs and is a facilitator (Arabic) in the Domestic and Family Program for men. Ghassan holds a Masters of Educational Administration and a Bachelor of Arts
Family Services Manager, Assist Metro
Michelle Lazaris has been working for Metro Assist Family Services Manager since 2016 and with Metro Assist since 2007. Michelle’s passion and expertise lies in working with disadvantaged and culturally and linguistically diverse communities with over 15 years of experiences within the Child/ Family social and community sector. Michelle has been working with the child protection section for over 10 years and is a strong advocate for CALD families.
Sarah is an experienced human rights lawyer and human services consultant, working in public, private and community sectors on many public policy issues in Australia. At Deloitte, she focuses on government and for purpose clients. I’m passionate about human services and social infrastructure design and reform aimed at improving the lives of people, especially those who come into contact with the family violence, child protection and justice systems. This work is informed by my human rights expertise as government, community and business increasingly recognise failings in human services and infrastructure are issues of inequality, vulnerability and discrimination. Prior to joining professional services, Sarah focused on Business and Community Engagement at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Before this, she led the Human Rights Program at the Australian Council for International Development and consulted to the United Nations and other international organisations.
Alasdair Roy OAM
Consultant Psychologist, DelRoy Consulting
Alasdair is a Canberra based psychologist with over 25 years’ experience working with children and young people. Alasdair’s areas of expertise include: consulting with children and young people; child safe/child friendly organisations; best-practice service delivery for children and young people; and children and young people in the care and protection, youth justice, and mental health systems. Between 2008 and 2016, Alasdair was the Children & Young People Commissioner in the ACT, and, in 2017, established DelRoy Consulting to assist community, private and government agencies to become safe and friendly environments for children and young people. In 2014, Alasdair was an ACT Australian of the Year Finalist for his work promoting and protecting the rights of children and young people; in 2015, was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to examine Child Safe/Child Friendly practice in Iceland, Norway and Sweden; and in 2016 was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to children and young people. Alasdair holds a Masters degree in counselling psychology, and is registered with the Psychology Board of Australia.
Vinod help old companies become young again by applying modern engineering techniques and the application of open technologies and platforms; help young companies through their growing pains by advising start-ups across multiple sectors; and make social impact everyone’s business by advocating on social issues and building preventative solutions. He help lead Deloitte Platform Engineering delivery projects and advisory work for clients with a focus on Open Data. I run large scale innovation events and work closely with NFP’s to bring innovative social impact solutions to life. A lifelong learner who is always tinkering. Current key side project is to build an augmented reality app to educate students on Domestic and Family Violence. Vinod participate in many hackathons especially those with a social impact focus.