Dr Helen Keleher is Director of Keleher Consulting, and Adjunct Professor in Health Science with the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicare, Monash University.
Her work over many decades, has been about understanding how best we can impact the determinants of health particularly gender equity.
She is a life member of Loddon Mallee Women’s Health, National Convenor of the Australian Women’s Health Network from 2000-2005, convenor of two AWHN national conferences on women’s health, and currently Chair of WHISE – Women’s Health in the South-East (in Melbourne).
She was a member of the Women and Gender Equity Knowledge Network for the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health from 2005-8. She is also Past-President of the Public Health Association of Australia and is convenor for the 2017 World Conference on Public Health to be held in Melbourne.
Dixie Link-Gordon has lived all her adult life in Redfern. Her six children have grown up in the community and Dixie has become a voice of authority, promoting the cultural values of ‘sharing, caring and respect’.
She has developed a real talent for communication, conducting conversations about domestic violence across genders and generations. In the early ‘90s Dixie became a founding worker at the Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women’s Centre in Chippendale. Meaning ‘women’s place’, Mudgin-Gal offers a safe haven and a range of services for Aboriginal women.
In 2004 Dixie extended the domestic violence conversation by facilitating the Blackout Violence Campaign. The Campaign engaged over 1,000 men at the Redfern Football Carnival, and its success led to Dixie’s employment as a Community Educator for the Tackling Violence Program. Dixie was a cofounder and Project Worker of ‘Hey Sis, we’ve got your back!’ Hey Sis, trains ‘Aunties’ within Indigenous communities so that they are able to provide support when approached by other women in the community who are experiencing violence.
In 2014 and 2015, Dixie was invited to the United Nations to present on her work with Aboriginal women. Dixie is currently employed by Women’s Legal Service NSW.
Topping the list of ‘12 Muslim Australians Who Crushed It In 2014‘, by US news media website Buzzfeed, Mariam Veiszadeh was acknowledged for “leading the charge against Islamophobia” and classified as being part of “Australia’s best and brightest”.
Mariam’s strong advocacy against Islamophobia made global headlines as she endured months of cyberbullying for simply speaking out against bigotry. Australians responded by rallying behind Mariam and showing their support on social media using the hashtag #IstandwithMariam.
For International Women’s Day celebrations in 2015, Mariam was selected by Elle Magazine Malaysia as one of 12 women who were helping “change the world”, alongside the likes of Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie. And domestically in Australia, Get Up, an independent, community advocacy organisation featured her alongside other strong women advocates, including Rosie Batty, 2015 Australian of the Year, for ‘making it happen’. Mariam was also featured in Elle Magazine Australia for their #WeAreWomen campaign and was a finalist in the Daily Life Women of the Year Awards as well as being awarded Westpac’s ‘Woman of Influence’ Award for 2015.
In December 2015, Mariam was also awarded the prestigious “Role Model of the Year” and “Woman of the Year” at the 9th Australian Muslim Achievement Awards. She has been described as a woman who uses her “considerable wit and smarts to punch holes in the stupidity of racism, sexism and xenophobia in general”.
Mariam is a tireless advocate and her efforts have attracted the support of senior politicians, journalists, decision makers and other ordinary Australians.
Emily Howie has worked with the HRLC since 2009 protecting human rights in Australian foreign policy, defending democratic freedoms such as the right to vote as well as anti-racism and minority rights issues. She also works on accountability for Australia’s actions overseas such as border protection measures and military cooperation, including Australia’s involvement in the US drone program.
Emily has a masters in law from Columbia University in New York and in 2012 she was awarded Columbia’s Leebron Human Rights Fellowship to conduct research on asylum seekers in Sri Lanka.
Prior to joining the HRLC, Emily worked as a Senior Associate with Allens Arthur Robinson, a legal adviser to the House of Representatives Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, and in the Trial Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Emily has substantial human rights litigation experience, including as a lead lawyer in Roach v Cth  HCA 43, which established constitutional protection of the right to vote.
Rita Butera is the executive director of Women’s Health Victoria, a not-for-profit organisation committed to bettering the lives of Victorian women. She’s responsible for leading strategic health promotion and advocacy work in areas including violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and mental health and wellbeing.”
Primarily, I’m really responsible for understanding and providing evidence on what the key health issues are for women – particularly looking at those issues from a prevention point of view,” says Butera, whose university qualifications are in social welfare/social science and business administration and management.
For more than two decades, she’s worked in a variety of senior health-focused roles in the human services industry, including program manager at Vic Health and director research planning at beyondblue.
“The things that contribute to people being healthy are not necessarily in the health system,” says Butera. “It’s what’s outside the health system that can contribute to [health]; whether it’s systemic or societal or whether it’s about behaviours.
She started working at Women’s Health Victoria in 2010.
Dr Matthew Fisher works as a Research Fellow at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, within the School of Medicine at Flinders University. His recent work has focused on Australian health policy, to investigate the extent to which it does or does not address social determinants of health and health equity. His main personal research interests are in social determinants of chronic stress and mental illness, and their implications for public policy and political ethics. Matt completed a PhD in philosophy on these themes at Adelaide University in 2010.
Previously, he has worked in the non-government community housing sector. He has a long-standing commitment to values of social justice and environmental sustainability.
Tracy Howe is Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS).
Tracy is a legally trained advocate with a commitment to human rights, addressing community disadvantage and gender inequality. Previously, Tracy has worked in both government and non-government settings, including with Domestic Violence NSW as Chief Executive Officer and as a senior legal advisor in Federal government.
Tracy currently sits on the NSW Government’s Social Impact Investment Expert Advisory Group and is appointed to the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Council, the NSW Premier’s Council on Homelessness and was the NSW non-government representative on the National Plan Implementation Panel for the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. Previously, Tracy was a delegate with the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the 57th and 58th sessions held at the United Nations in New York.
In February 2015, Tracy won the Agenda Setter Award at the NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards. In May 2015, Tracy was appointed to the Prime Minister’s COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women. Tracy is also an Ambassador of the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women and in December 2015 completed a Certificate in Making Your Organisation Innovative at the Judge Business School, Cambridge University.
Tracy holds degrees in Gender Studies and Law.
Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, CEO, National Centre for Health Justice Partnership
Health Justice Partnerships (HJPs) are an exciting model of providing access to justice, where lawyers and health professionals collaborate to provide better health outcomes and access to justice for patients with legal issues. Tessa was appointed to set up this new national centre which will be an advocate for the partnership model, highlighting best practice, support existing and new HJPs and advocating for systemic changes to more effectively address the social determinants of health.
Tessa has worked in health, criminal justice and human rights organisations in Australia and internationally. She was previously Deputy CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service and received the inaugural Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Nonprofit Leaderships. Her doctoral thesis was published as a book, ‘Protecting the Public?: Detention and Release of Mentally Disordered Offenders’ by Routledge in 2010.
Karen Willis is the Executive Officer of Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia.
Karen has worked in the field of violence against women for over thirty years. She is clear that it is every person’s human right to live their life free of violence and that when violence occurs, it is every person’s right to receive compassionate professional assistance in their recovery and full redress for the crime through the criminal justice system.
Jackie Burke is a registered psychologist and the Clinical Director of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia. She has worked therapeutically with people who have experienced trauma through sexual assault, family and domestic violence for 18 years and has held management roles in organisations responding to traumatised people for the last 15 years.
Jackie co pioneered the Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia’s award winning Vicarious Trauma Management Program and has continued researching this construct and providing consultation on this topic to human service organisations both government and NGO since 2007. Her consultation work assists organisations to effectively manage trauma workforces and develop innovative and effective responses to the management of vicarious trauma.
Jackie is responsible for service delivery and clinical research and training programs at Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia and her special interest areas are: management, complex trauma, trauma specialist counselling, vicarious trauma management and clinical supervision within counselling services. Jackie spends a lot of her free time in yoga poses and enjoys a good murder mystery.
Graduate Diploma of Couple Therapy, University of New South Wales
Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), University of New England
Advanced Certificate in Supervision, Centre for Supervision Training NSW
CHCChild1C Facilitator’s Accreditation, Centre for Community Welfare Training
Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment and Training, Arnhem Land Progress Association, NT
Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management, Mental Health Coordinating Council NSW
Rochelle Zats is a front line worker who is passionate about providing crisis intervention for women experiencing domestic violence. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 2010 with a social work degree. Currently she is delivering the NSW It Stops Here: Safer Pathway reform package at the Waverley Local Coordination Point as part of the Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service which is part of Redfern Legal Centre.
The NSW It Stops Here: Safer Pathway reforms launched in September 2014 with an aim to provide a consistent, effective and proactive response to victims of domestic violence in NSW and promote information sharing between services to prevent domestic violence homicides. Waverley and Orange were chosen as the launch site for the reforms including the introduction of safety action meetings. SAMs are fortnightly meetings of government and non government organisations sharing information to increase the safety of victims of domestic violence and their children who have been assessed to be at serious threat of homicide.
The Safety Action Meetings have resulted in outcomes for victims of domestic violence that have been unprecedented before the reforms. We have successfully had clients rehoused through Housing NSW, urgent revocation of parole of domestic violence perpetrators and safety upgrades implemented into the homes of clients, all within a matter of hours or days.
NSW health representatives are by far one of the most important contributors to our Safety Action Meetings. By targeted research, our members are able to provide valuable information to the SAMs to build the picture of the safety concerns that families may be experiencing. Often hospitals, community health organisations and GPs are the first to identify domestic violence or child abuse concerns and with this information we are able to better understand the risks for a family. For example, one of our NSW health members brought information to a meeting that indicated that the perpetrator had a daily ICE habit, which was previously unknown by the victim or the police. By having this information, we were able to more appropriate safety plan with the victim and police were more aware of risks to the victim, her child and those in the community.
At this time, there are 6 Local Coordination Point sites across NSW and the NSW Government has committed to rolling out the LCPs and SAMs across NSW by 2019. We currently receive referrals from our NSW Health partners however with the further roll out there is the goal for external services to be able to make electronic referrals through to the LCP in their area for victims of domestic violence. We believe that health services are pivotal in identifying domestic violence and through the SAMs we are able to work together to provide a coordinated response to make sure no victim falls through the cracks.
Fiona Davies is the CEO of the Australian Medical Association (NSW). In 2013, AMA NSW partners with Women’s Legal Services NSW to launch the When She Talks to You about Violence toolkit for GPs to support patients who make disclosures of family violence. The Guide recognises that one in four women will make their first disclosure of family violence to their GP.
Since launching the Guide, the AMA has continued to raise the importance of responding to family violence. We have conducted seminars for doctors within the hospital setting and general practices, produced educational videos for GPs and in October 2016 we worked with Rosie Batty to launch the Share your Story Campaign.
Meredith Lea is a project assistant working on the Disability Support for the Royal Commission project at People with Disability Australia. She completed a Bachelor of International and Global Studies in 2013. Meredith then went on to study a Master of Human Rights at the University of Sydney, during which she interned with People with Disability Australia. She developed an original research paper examining the accessibility of the Australian criminal justice system for women with disability who have been sexually assaulted. Upon completing her Master of Human Rights in 2014, Meredith began working in the area of violence prevention, bridging the disability and domestic violence response sectors, and focussing on the experiences of women with disability.
Women with disability are made vulnerable to violence by a combination of gender- and disability-based discrimination. Indeed, women with disability are approximately 37.3% more at risk of domestic violence than their peers. In NSW, 43% of the women who experienced personal violence in 2011 were estimated to have a disability or long-term health condition. This is 7% higher than the national average. Violence against women with disability is perpetrated by a range of people, in various settings and in a range of ways. However, as with violence perpetrated against other women, issues of power and control are ever present. Additionally, women with disability often encounter a multitude of significant barriers to accessing support or assistance when experiencing domestic and family violence.
Recognising this, PWDA and DVNSW recently co-developed a set of resources, drawing on national and international expertise regarding best practice in responding to domestic and family violence against people with disability. The resources developed by PWDA and DVNSW outline, in three documents, practical ways in which domestic and family violence services in NSW can increase their accessibility. These resources provide the tools for services to make tangible, enduring changes to their accessibility, by providing background information about disability, gender, and domestic and family violence, an audit template, information about the common barriers faced by people with disability escaping violence, and practical recommendations for improving service accessibility over a realistic timeframe.