When Russell Hooper graduated with a Bachelor of Science majoring in immunology, microbiology and genetics, his original intention was to become a doctor.
After I graduated, I started what was meant to be a temporary job in government and it was there I came to realise the power of public policy and that you can change hundreds and thousands of lives. I realised quite early on that I was more interested the big picture. So, I started a Masters’ in Social Science (Policy and Human Services).
Since then, Russell has worked in public policy across government, the community and private sectors.
Some of his roles have included working on the establishment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme for the Victorian Government, working on public sector reform in New Zealand, responding to the Royal Commission recommendations while at the Department of Premier and Cabinet, helping to set up Family Safety Victoria, and leading the consultation and policy development of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children 2010-2022.
As the Head of Advocacy at No To Violence, Russell’s current role encompasses policy and research, communications and membership.
“Family violence was an area which has been not talked about for so long. It's been seen as something that should only be discussed behind doors and only recently, we've seen much larger focus on the issue and there's so much change. The rewarding part for me is when I talk to people or organisations and they say, ‘I didn't realise this was such a big issue, and I want to do something to fix that now,’” Russell says.
“The family violence sector is so broad and there are many different areas which need new people with different perspectives. If you’re seeking a career in family violence around policy, my advice is to listen to people with lived experience because it changes the way you look at things, it inspires the way you work, inspires you to do the work, and having that insight makes policy better.”
Reviewed 18 February 2021