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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 and founded WOW – World of Work Chaplaincy. 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.
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.
Ms Mandla commenced as the inaugural Head of the National Office for Child Safety on 2 July 2018. The National Office provides leadership in the development of national strategies and initiatives to enhance children’s safety and reduce future harm to children. The National Office was established in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and sits within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
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.
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.
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.
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.