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The Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council (Council) is an alliance between government and non-government representatives working to address domestic and family violence and sexual assault in NSW. It strives to be an integrated response to domestic and family violence and sexual assault in NSW, and provides advice to the NSW Government.

The Council brings together representatives from the NSW government, non-government organisations and academia. It facilitates shared understandings of the NSW Government’s reforms in domestic and family violence and sexual assault, and monitors and advises on reform implementation.

The Council also provides advice on legislation, and policy and programs, relating to domestic and family violence and sexual assault and is chaired by the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.

Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council members

  • Moo Baulch, Domestic Violence NSW
  • Anne Cossins, Criminologist and Academic Lawyer
  • Libby Davies, White Ribbon Australia
  • Anne Hollonds, Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)
  • Jannice Luland, Waminda Woman's Health & Welfare Aboriginal Corporation
  • Tracy McLeod Howe, NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS)
  • Christine Robinson, Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre
  • Susan Smith, Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service
  • Jo Spangaro, University of New South Wales
  • Lizette Twisleton, No to Violence
  • Leesa Waters, National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN)
  • Tanya Whitehouse, Macarthur Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service
  • Karen Willis, Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia
  • Melinda Norton, Women NSW

Member biographies

Moo Baulch

Moo Baulch is Chief Executive of Domestic Violence NSW, the state peak body for specialist domestic and family violence (DFV) services. She is part of a small team that works to improve policy and practice responses to women, children and communities impacted by violence.

Moo has worked in the non-government, not for profit sector in Australia, South East Asia, the UK and Spain over the last couple of decades. She believes that public awareness of domestic and family violence and sexual assault is at an unprecedented level and that cross-sector and community partnerships are key to the cultural and practical changes required for inclusive support.

She looks forward to the day when all children are taught in schools about the intersections between discrimination, bullying, violence and healthy respectful relationships.

Annie Cossins

Professor Annie Cossins is a criminologist and academic lawyer who has been an advocate for victims' rights for 27 years, having worked alongside various NGOs and with government to improve justice processes and procedures for victims of sexual assault.

Libby Davies

Libby Davies AM is the immediate past CEO of White Ribbon Australia (White Ribbon), Australia’s national primary prevention organisation with a particular focus on engaging men to be active drivers of social change to stop men's violence against women. As CEO of White Ribbon she was responsible for transformative programs to engage men in the prevention of men’s violence against women and build community capacity to be the drivers of positive social change and gender equality. Prior to this position, and in recent years, Libby has worked extensively across the social policy and community services sector holding leadership and senior executive positions and as a consultant. Libby has previously held CEO positions in national organisations such as Family Services Australia (now Family Relationships Services Australia), UnitingCare Australia and Brain Injury Australia. Libby has also served on numerous national, ministerial, state and NFP boards, including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Chair of UnitingCare NSW/ACT; and advisory councils. In 2015 Libby was awarded the NSW ‘For Purpose and Social Enterprise’ Telstra Women in Business Award, winner in the 2016 100 Women of Influence Awards and finalist in University of Newcastle National Leadership Alumni Awards. In 2018 she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her service to the community through leadership and advisory roles. She is a graduate of the University of Newcastle, University of Sydney and completed the AICD’s course.

Anne Hollonds

As Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies (, Anne is responsible for conducting research and providing advice to Australian governments. The Institute conducts quantitative and qualitative research, and translates findings, to improve the effectiveness of policy, systems and services for children and families. The Institute is known for its longitudinal studies, data linkage, primary research, policy and program evaluation, and knowledge translation for policy-makers and service providers.

A leading voice on child and family wellbeing, Anne is a psychologist and former CEO of large NGO’s, with over 30 years’ experience in policy and practice in social services, health and education for children and families.

Jannice Luland

Jannice Luland (Jeno) is a proud Aboriginal women and direct descendant of the Wodiwodi and Walbunja peoples of the far South coast of NSW.

She believes that “it is every person’s human right to a life free of violence and abuse”.

Jeno has worked for no less than 30 years in Aboriginal communities in the areas of health, Justice Health, domestic/ family violence/sexual assault and child protection. Her current work includes working closely with survivors of domestic/family violence and sexual assault in a therapeutic space. More recently, she had the opportunity to support many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women within the justice health system and supporting them to re integrate back into community, linking them to supports and assisting them to make linkages back to family, children and community.

Within her working career, Jeno has contributed to the ongoing dialogue, advocating for many disadvantage and marginalised people. She continues to be an active participant within her community and has been a director on local, regional and state boards/advisory boards.

What is important in the work that she does is to maintain a level of self-reflection and self-care – constantly making sure that her actions are accountable and are grounded in honouring the many stories she is privileged to hear.

Jeno uses music and song writing as a platform for her own healing journey and finds that in this space she can better understand herself – and express her own story and share with her family, friends and community.

Tracy McLeod Howe

Tracy is a legally trained senior executive leader, consultant and executive mentor with a background across social services, social justice policy, gender equality and working towards the elimination of violence against women and the safety of children. Tracy has a significant background in government and non-government settings and has led change in complex and sensitive settings and projects, run national campaigns and works across government, civil society and  business. She completed a post graduate Certificate in Business at Cambridge University at the Cambridge Judge Business School in 2017.

Most recently, she has held positions as CEO of the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS), Commissioner at the NSW Law Reform Commission and CEO of Domestic Violence NSW. Tracy was also the NSW government’s appointed representative on the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children in 2017.

Christine Robinson

Christine Robinson is Bundjalung woman from northern NSW.

Christine has worked in the area of domestic and family violence, and sexual assault for over twenty-five years.  She has previously worked in women’s domestic violence refuges and has been employed in her current role the Coordinator of Wirringa Baiya for over ten years.

Wirringa Baiya is a community legal centre located in Sydney. The Centre provides legal advice, casework and community education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, children and youth across NSW. The Centre also contributes to law reform.

Wirringa Baiya was established to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait women with a gender and culturally specific service to assist, support and improve access to justice for these women, children and youth. The Centre pays particular attention to working with victims and survivors of violence.

Christine received a Bachelor of Arts in Adult Education and Community Management from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and was the recipient of the UTS Human Rights Award for her work in the area sexual assault in Aboriginal communities.

Christine is currently a member of the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team.

Susan Smith

For the past 15 years Susan has been the coordinator of the Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS). In this role she has overseen the expansion of the service from approximately 120 clients in 2004 to 2834 clients in the twelve months ending 30 June 2018.

Susan has overseen the implementation of the service to include the Safer Pathway element of the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Reforms. Under the Reforms, Sydney WDVCAS operates the Waverley, Newtown and Central Sydney Local Coordination Points (LCPs) and Safety Action Meetings (SAMs).

She regularly participates in domestic and family violence law reform and policy work and is a statutory member of the NSW Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council, the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team and the NSW Victims Advisory Board.

Jo Spangaro

Jo Spangaro is an internationally recognised researcher on responses to gender-based violence. Her research builds on 20 years experience in direct work, training and policy development. She is currently completing studies on: sustainability of screening for domestic violence in antenatal clinics and efficacy of mother-child interventions after domestic violence. Other recent work includes: a study of Aboriginal women’s decisions to disclose domestic violence; a systematic review of interventions to reduce risk of sexual violence in conflict and humanitarian crises. She has a particular focus on strengths based responses and vulnerable populations. She regularly advises state and national governments and has authored 79 research-related outputs including 25 peer reviewed journal articles.

Lizette Twisleton

Lizette Twisleton is the interim Director Practice and Programs for No to Violence, the peak body for men’s behaviour change work. She has worked in the human and community services sector for 30 years for NGO’s and in local government. Lizette has experience in domestic and family violence with victim-survivors and men who use family violence, youth work, health promotion and community development. She has specialised in men’s behaviour change work over the past seventeen years, twelve years as a men’s behaviour change program facilitator, three years delivering partner contact and two years sector development.  Lizette has also provided training and supervision focusing on men’s behaviour change work.

Lizette is passionate about working collectively and collaboratively to create lasting safety for families.

Leesa Waters

As the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN), Leesa is passionate about the power of primary prevention.

In her current role she strives for cultural and generational change through respectful relationships education and community campaigns, and sits on the National Expert Advisory Group for Respectful Relationships Education. At the program level Leesa has helped to develop and deliver NAPCAN’s Love Bites program including adaptations for different age groups, remote communities, and out-of-school settings.

With more than 27 years of experience in the social services sector, her work has taken her into family homes, youth refuges, women’s refuges, correctional facilities, courtrooms, NGOs and government departments right across Australia from major cities to rural and remote communities.

Leesa always speaks up for the rights of children - particularly their right to be heard - and believes we should all continually ask ourselves ‘what is it like for the child?’.

Tanya Whitehouse

Tanya Whitehouse is the Coordinator of Macarthur Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service and has worked with this service for over 25 years. Other roles include:

  • member of two Domestic Violence Committees,
  • Board member of a family support service;
  • Participates in committees/consultation panels;
  • member of the SWS Health D&FV Health Alliance/DV NSW Alliance;
  • Chair of WDVCAS NSW Inc. – the peak body for the Women’s DVCAS across NSW.;
  • White Ribbon Advocate;
  • Has worked closely with Women’s Community Shelters to build a refuge  in 2019.

In 2018 Tanya was named 2018 Camden Woman of the Year. In 2015 she was awarded the Justice Medal with the Law and Justice Foundation. She was recognised for her work in Domestic Violence by the Deputy Premier in 2015.

Karen Willis

Karen has worked in the NGO sector for 40 years, in women specific services for 25 years, and for Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia for 16 years. Karen has asound knowledge of sexual, domestic and family violence services, the criminal justice system and importantly prevention of gendered violence. She works with others to identify and articulate systemic improvements and to build on collective knowledge to propose solutions. It is Karen’s view that those who experience sexual, domestic and family violence have a right to access high quality, well-coordinated, client focussed services to assist in their recovery and a responsive criminal justice system to seek redress for the crime committed against them. Karen says that while high quality and responsive services are our gaol prevention of the violence before it starts must be our passion.

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019