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Voices of change: Meet our VSAC members

Introducing the current members of the Victim Survivors' Advisory Council.

Kym (Chairperson)

Kym Valentine

Kym (she/her) was appointed as the Chair of VSAC in September 2022.

A mother of two children, Kym is well known to many for her long-running and much-loved role in the television show Neighbours.

Kym has extensive experience as a television and theatre actor, as well as in teaching, and these skills help her to facilitate nuanced conversations in her leadership role on the Council.

As VSAC Chair, Kym is passionate about building a culture where people engage with VSAC in ways that focus on building trust and space for healing.

She firmly believes these values lead to the kind of lasting and meaningful change which will transform the family violence system.

April (Co-Deputy chairperson)

April* (she/her) is a youth advocate passionate about changing community service systems to work better with children and young people experiencing family violence.

She is working with Melbourne City Mission, The Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor and with Safe and Equal to ensure that young people with lived experience are being heard and partnered with. April also sits on the Victim Survivors' Advisory Council as a representative for young survivors.

*Not her real name.

Katrina (Co-Deputy chairperson)

Katrina (she/her) is a proud Palawa woman who survived 20 years of family violence and abuse.

Driven by her daughters to make positive changes in her life and her community, Katrina wants to share her stories and experiences with other women who live in abusive relationships.

She has been a member of VSAC since January 2020 and is also a member of the East Gippsland Indigenous Family Violence Regional Advisory Group.


Aishwarya, also known as Ash, joined VSAC to bring the voices of women of colour to the council and to share her experience about the additional layers of oppression facing women from multicultural communities. Ash strongly believes that violence against women and children is not a part of her culture or any other culture.

Originally from India, Ash has a keen interest in advocacy, education and intersectional feminism. She has experience working with LGBTIQA+ and multicultural communities in the context of family and intimate partner violence.

Ash has an education background and currently works at Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) as a family violence trainer to spread prevention of family violence messages within multicultural communities.


Boyd joined VSAC after seeing a need for change – change to the way society views domestic violence, change to the way victims and their families are treated and change to the way perpetrators are held to account.

Boyd’s daughter Katie was murdered by her partner in 2018 when she tried to leave the relationship. Since then, Boyd has actively advocated for better awareness and understanding of the signs of coercive control and domestic violence.

Boyd’s hope is that VSAC will give him a voice to help make change through education, reform and hopefully the introduction of much needed coercive control laws. He wants to help victims safely escape abusive situations and to navigate the system more easily. Getting men to understand the issues and getting them to call out these behaviours is essential to reducing domestic violence and especially violence against women and children. As a husband, father and grandfather, Boyd comes to VSAC with a different perspective of lived experience after having to navigate many government and legal systems after the death of his daughter.


Conor (he/him) is a 19-year-old social justice advocate who isn’t afraid to pick up the phone and be a voice for those who need it most. As a 2022 recipient of the Victorian Young Achiever of the Year Award, in the ‘Connecting Communities’ category, the Mildura resident is on an endless campaign for equality.

Conor continues to use his lived experience as victim survivor of domestic and family violence as his driving force for change. He is passionate and driven, and fights to empower young people to raise their voices of lived experience, to evoke meaningful reform in Victoria’s family violence system.

As a young male victim survivor, Conor hopes to break the stigma of gender-based violence and be a voice and role-model for other young men.

Conor is using what has happened to him as his power. He has shown how one’s lived experience can be a catalyst for meaningful change for those who haven’t yet found their voice.


Danny (she/her) joined VSAC in September 2022. She has lived experience of family violence in childhood and intimate partner violence in early adulthood. She shares her story to ensure Victoria’s family violence reform initiatives remain a collective opportunity to disrupt intergenerational violence and suffering.

In her advocacy work, Danny has a particular focus on ensuring children and young people are recognised and supported as victim survivors in their own right, improving police responses to victim survivors and contributing to the development of a lived experience strategy.

Danny has a professional background in community services and community health. She is also a freelance writer.


Katherina Storey

Nina joined VSAC in January 2020. She believes VSAC matters because it gives people with lived experience the opportunity to advocate for change from the lens of their lived experience, and to influence organisational structures and visions.

She wants to use her voice to help services understand the complexities of criminalised survivors, the barriers they face and the impacts of systemic harm, abuse and violence they have faced.


Lita* (she/her) has been working in family health and wellbeing for more than ten years. She joined VSAC after surviving a 20-year abusive relationship and hopes to raise awareness of what it is like to live under coercive control.

Lita has a strong interest in the prevention and response to family violence in communities of faith. She chooses to work anonymously for her safety.

She also hopes her lived experience can inform policy and law reform to support whole family solutions to family violence that are the least traumatising for victim survivors and their children, safe systems of police reporting for intimate partner violence and sexual abuse, and meaningful accountability for controlling or coercive behaviour. Her passion is healthy families and communities.

Lita’s favourite quote: "Scream so that one day a hundred years from now another sister will not have to dry her tears wondering where in history she lost her voice." - Sikh poet, Jasmin Kaur

*Lita is not her real name


Martina (she/her) is a proud lesbian and mother to one gorgeous son. She has worked with people from different backgrounds as a Community Development Worker for over 20 years. Martina is passionate about social justice and gender equality and wants everyone to know that family violence does not discriminate and it can, and does happen to anyone.

Martina has been involved with Speaking Out, through Women’s Health East and is now working with Weavers through Melbourne University, contributing her lived experience to the work of researchers, and improving community attitudes about family violence. Martina is looking forward to raising awareness of family violence within the LGBTIQA+ community and ensuring the voices of this community are not overlooked as well as speaking out about the importance of gender equality in the prevention of family violence.


I (Millie, she/her) come here on a dream. A dream of freedom for ourselves and our children. I come here clambered on the backs of thousands of women who have laid bricks before me, and I too, came with the many women clinging on to me. Together we come, carrying our own children and the children of others, to gnaw through the ropes and to feel the slow and tedious rebuilding of our spirits. I come here on the back of grief for the life that I could have lived, but was stolen from me. I come for the childhood's denied to our children. A space in time, they will never have the privilege of knowing. And for that I grieve for them.

But I also come with hope. For we are not what they did to us. We are so much more. And together we will carve out a future so beautiful, so full of joy and light and freedom, that fear cannot survive.

*Millie is not her real name


Penny joined VSAC to ensure the lived experiences of older people is heard. She believes the council can influence positive change to make accessing services easier and less traumatic.

Family violence comes in many different forms and is not always recognised or understood which is why Penny believes getting constructive help early is important.

Penny is a proud mother of two daughters and three grandchildren. Her working life has been as a potter and part-owner of a craft gallery.


Rebecca, also known as Kitty Galore in the sex work community, joined VSAC in January 2020. She has genuine passion in supporting sex workers and strives for all voices to be heard. She initiated local community radio show, Behind Closed Doors on 3CR which earned an award of Best New Show of 2019. She is a founding member and the vice president for sex work advocacy group Sex Work Law Reform Victoria.

She studied law and also has a strong academic background in community services and mental health. She works as an interpreter to support migrant sex workers and volunteers in her free time at a health and education service. Rebecca patented a technology to keep sex workers safe and reduce social stigma. She is also the charter president of Melbourne’s largest not-for-profit anime club.

Everyday Rebecca is reminded that “silence only enables the oppressor”. She wants victim survivors to know that they can choose a different life, there is help, and from trauma can come great strength.

“VSAC matters because we are finally hearing voices of those who have been victimised. We are working together to show that family violence happens in all levels of society and that it is not okay. VSAC is the beginning of many movements to end family violence and promote mutual respect in families.”


Sharyn (she/her) lived in family violence for 12 years with three young children and left when her eldest son was 12 years old. Sharyn says that her life wasn't easy, and that she felt very guilty when her eldest son went off track. Sharyn is now in a position where she is no longer experiencing family violence. At 42, Sharyn studied social work and has since worked in the field of family violence, including 15 years with Aboriginal women and children. Sharyn is very proud of the work she has done in North and Northeast Victoria and Melbourne.


Yara* has her name withheld for safety reasons, to protect herself and her family. She contributes anonymously in all of her victim survivor advocacy work including VSAC.

She lives with multiple disabilities and is a survivor of family violence and childhood abuse. She has studied drugs and alcohol and mental health. She works in lived experience in homelessness, drugs and alcohol, mental health, and family violence. She is a member of WEAVERs who are a panel of survivors of violence against women.

Yara works with the Experts by Experience Project and has a background in lived experience and community-based research. Her passions include animals, art, music, disability pride, queer pride, the ocean, swimming, and creative writing.

Yara has written a poem about what respect is for her for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, and International Day for People with a Disability. Yara's lyrics Reclaiming my story, Reclaiming my life were included in the Safe Steps candlelight vigil on 5 May 2021. The vigil remembers women and children who have died as a result of family and domestic violence.

Yara is a finalist of the 2021 Victoria Disability Awards, in the Excellence in promoting rights, fairness and safety category.

*Not her real name.

Reviewed 08 March 2023

Family violence reform

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