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Voices of change: Meet our VSAC members

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

Rivka, Chairperson

Rivka (she/her) has been working in family health and wellbeing for more than ten years. Her passion is healthy families and communities.    
Rivka believes that lived experience must inform policy and law reform. She supports whole of family solutions to family violence that are the least traumatising for victim survivors and their children. Rivka is interested in creating safer systems of police reporting for intimate partner violence and sexual abuse, avoiding collusion within family court processes, and meaningful accountability for controlling or coercive behaviour. Victim survivors should be supported to heal and build for themselves a future, rather than having to survive the system after surviving abuse. Rivka advocates for schools to be a safe space of support for children and young people who are unsafe within their home.    
Rivka has a special interest in the prevention of and response to family violence in communities of faith. She would like education for religious leaders so they can be a support for people experiencing violence, rather than an obstacle.  
Rivka is hopeful that ongoing family violence reform and continued government commitment to listen to lived experience will lead to healthier thriving families and, finally, the prevention of intergenerational violence. 
Her 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

Conor, Deputy Chairperson

Conor (he/him) is a young person shaking up the family violence system, determined to use his lived experience as a male survivor to drive change that matters in Victoria. Being one of the youngest members to be appointed to VSAC, he is using his experiences to influence change in the way children and young people are engaged as victim survivors in their own right. 

Hailing from Mildura, Conor was recognised for his commitment to family violence reform when presented with a Victorian Young Achiever of the Year Award in 2022 and has successfully evoked reform within the heart of the state’s justice system. Conor has recently released his debut children’s book, The Shadow that Follows, aimed to support primary prevention initiatives, and continues to advocate for a standalone family violence service for children and young people. 
Every day Conor strives to show that one's lived experience can be a catalyst for meaningful, systemic change. 


Annie (she/her) is a young person and survivor of childhood abuse and family violence. She joined VSAC to give a voice to the children and young people who are affected by family violence.  

Annie aspires to use what she has experienced in a positive way; to help educate others on the complex nature and severity of family violence, and to improve the systems and legislation in Victoria.

Annie strives to work for young victim survivors and to advocate for improved training of family violence professionals so they can better support young people.

She wants to elevate the voices of young victim survivors and has experience working with young people in many settings. She has worked as a music teacher, is completing placement in a high school wellbeing centre, and has spent many years in the scouting movement. She is currently studying Community Services with the goal of establishing a career in the family violence sector to further advocate for and work with victim survivors.   



Boyd (he/him) 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.



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 are a collective opportunity to address and prevent intergenerational cycles of violence and suffering.

In her advocacy work, Danny focuses 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 processes that embed lived experience expertise and leadership.

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


Dawn (she/her) is a parent and grandparent. She enjoys walking in nature, craft, reading widely and spending time with her cat. She believes in being honest and genuine and tries to always listen with openness to the views of others.

Dawn has a background in education and recently completed a Diploma of Community Service. She has a love of learning new things and sharing that knowledge with others.

Dawn has lived experience of family violence in one form or another, for most of her life resulting in a mental health disability. She has presented information sessions outlining both positive and negative experiences as a National Disability Insurance Scheme participant to National Disability Insurance Agency staff in person and in online forums.

Dawn has particular interests in the difficulties facing older people and those with mental health diagnoses when they try to leave unhealthy relationships. She would like to be involved in discussions around coercive control legislation.

Most of all, Dawn wants to turn her experiences into something positive that means others do not have to endure what she has. 


Emily (they/them) is an award-winning mental health advocate, software engineer, and creative designer. They currently hold roles as a Board Director, consultant, project manager, facilitator, and ambassador.  

Emily is informed by their intersectional lived and living experiences. This includes mental ill-health, disability, LGBTQIA+, multiculturalism, neurodivergence, homelessness, family violence, and more.  

Emily is currently the Lived Experience Lead with the Royal Children’s Hospital, Metaverse Project Manager with Meta, Board Director with Scope Australia and Midsumma, and a Consultant with UNICEF, Headspace, Beyond Blue, and more. Emily also has founded initiatives to address system gaps, including Multicultural Minds, a multicultural mental health awareness platform.  

For their work, Emily was recently awarded 25 Under 25 and 30 Under 30 Awards, Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Youth of the Year, the Disability Leadership Award, Innovation in Protecting Children Award, Children and Youth Empowerment Award, and inducted in the inaugural cohort of the Multicultural Honour Roll. 


Helen (she/her) wishes to make a difference to the world and to give the next generation the power of respect everyone deserves by changing the collective perspectives of society, particularly towards older people. She believes in earlier interventions in family violence, rather than after the fact. She believes in Australia-wide safety on power of attorney and financial matters.  

Helen is an older woman who has raised four children and has worked most of her adult life as a nurse and midwife, both in and out of the defence force. She was married for nearly 20 years to another defence force member and moved around a lot due, partly to defence force postings. She has been a single mother since her divorce.  

Helen has been involved in include National Ageing Research Institute Ltd, Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC), The 4Cs charity and has worked with Scouts for over 30 years. She was also involved with the Monash University and Shored Projects, Architecture and Landscape joint project to create ‘A Design Guide for Older Women’s Housing’. She has been involved with addressing elder abuse through the ECLC’s Elder Abuse Response Services (ELSA) and Rights of Seniors in the East (ROSE) programs.

Helen believes that unless we have walked in another person’s shoes, we cannot fully understand their journey. 


Katie (she/her) is a lived experience advocate, artist and writer who shares stories to change hearts and minds. She believes grace and grit have enabled her to survive family violence, disease, homelessness, poverty, unemployment and discrimination. Katie lives with trauma-related mental illness and a rare physical disease. She credits her assistance dog, her friends, her Christian faith and a National Disability Insurance Scheme ‘dream team’ for keeping her alive after losing everyone and everything that ever mattered. 

Katie is passionate about improving the lives of diverse people by centring their voices in policy, service and system change consultations. She strives to humanise victim survivors’ interactions with medical, disability, housing, welfare and justice systems. While serving with VSAC, Katie hopes to make a difference in the lives of older, rural, disabled women whose life length and quality is a post-code lottery. 

She is honoured to serve as an Ambassador with Rare Voices; a Peer Worker with the Council to Homeless Persons; a member of the Older Persons’ Advocacy Network Reference Group; and a Team Leader with the Making Waves Foundation. In 2022, Katie contributed to a National Disability Insurance Agency Select Committee which sought to make safer the lives of all people with disABILITIES. In her spare time, Katie is an awe-hunter, immersing herself in nature and the arts. She swims in the ocean with a group known as The Mermaids. 


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.


Lyanne (she/her) has a history that is complex, convoluted, and common across many women with experiences of the criminal justice system.  

Her interest in the parentification of eldest daughters in migrant and refugee families and the burden of forced self-sacrifice stems from her own experience.  

Lyanne is intrigued by the analysis of human behaviour, as she believes understanding the psychology behind family violence is integral to maintaining sustainable outcomes.  

With fire in her eyes and a love for humanity, Lyanne passionately advocates for systemic reform. She aims for multi-sectoral collaboration and reform while highlighting the impacts of intersectionality.  

Although Lyanne does advocate across the sectors of mental health, alcohol and other drugs, justice, Corrections, and family violence; there’s a long way to go and she’s just getting started. 


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


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.



Zaiba (she/her) joined VSAC in 2023 to bring the voices of women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to the council. This involves acknowledging that intersectionality plays a significant role in shaping the experiences and challenges faced by individuals within multicultural communities. As a proud member of VSAC, she is driven to create a safer and more supportive world for individuals who have experienced trauma. Through her own lived experience, she wants to spread awareness about the dangers and consequences of coercive control, which can last a lifetime and lead to intergenerational trauma.

Coming from a medical background, Zaiba believes that the severity of coercive control, such as emotional and psychological abuse, have the same effects on the brain as physical abuse, and that many people are not aware of this link. With a strong commitment to empowerment, healing, and positive change, Zaiba is dedicated to leading with empathy, sensitivity and understanding, and mirroring her work to the wise words of Maya Angelou, who once said “my mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”