Dr Berhan Ahmed

Chairperson, African Think Tank

Dr Berhan M. Ahmed (Shiday) was made a refugee at the age of 14 years old and arrived as a refugee at the age of 23 with nothing in Australia. he was Victorian Australian of the year 2009, current CEO, of African Australian Multicultural Employment and Youth Services, ex-co-chairperson of the Australia Africa University Network; fonder and ex-Chairperson of the African Think Tank and current Adjunct Professor at the university of Melbourne in Australia and is well-known to many African residing in Australia, through his commitment to numerous community issues via main stream media. First African Australian Senate Candidate for federal election 2004 for Victoria. Dr. Ahmed is ex-Board member for AMES 2007 – 2016 and ex-board member of Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre (2015-18).

Dr Ahmed is motivated by five core principles – social justice, sustainability development, Aboriginal reconciliation, building stronger and dynamic communities and applying democracy in action. His current leadership role is exploring new ways of engaging Africans in participation, decision and eliminate the culture of cover up and continued hostility and lack of co-operation among community members. To also encourage African Australian communities to engage and inspire with other mainstream communities to create harmony and good image of the Africans Australian youth in Australia and to provide guidance, role model and support youth and women to break the cycle of bad image.

Ms Brittany Armstrong

Solicitor, Shaw and Henderson

Brittany Armstrong is a solicitor at Shaw & Henderson with a particular interest in Youth Justice.  Brittany has pursued the current failings of the Youth Court system to address the specific issues of young people who may be doli incapax.  In 2019, she co-presented a paper on the presumption of doli incapax with Marie Shaw QC.  Brittany is a member of the Law Society of South Australia’s Children and the Law Committee.

In 2019, Brittany was the winner of the Criminal Law category in the ‘Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 awards’, the South Australian Young Lawyer of the Year, and listed in Doyle’s Guide as a Criminal Law Rising Star in South Australia.

Mr Andrew Adason

Victorian Ombudsman’s Lead Investigator on the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture

Andrew Adason is a senior delegate of the Victorian Ombudsman and a Manager of the Ombudsman’s Early Resolution Team.

Andrew was born in Melbourne and raised in Adelaide where he studied law at University of South Australia. He began his career with the South Australian Ombudsman where he worked for six years before moving back to Melbourne to join the Victorian Ombudsman. Andrew was the Ombudsman’s Executive Officer (Strategic Adviser) from 2016, before returning to a Senior Investigation Officer role in 2018.

In November 2018, Andrew was appointed Lead of the Ombudsman’s strategic OPCAT investigation, examining the use of practices that may lead or amount to the solitary confinement of children and young people in Victoria.

Ms Ruth Barson

Legal Director, Human Rights Law Centre

Ruth Barson joined the Human Rights Law Centre in 2014 and leads a team of lawyers advocating for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, economic justice and a fair and equal criminal legal system.

Ruth’s recent work includes coordinating High Court challenges to excessive police lock-up powers and Supreme Court challenges to unfair imprisonment and detention laws. Ruth has also led the Centre’s advocacy in relation to youth justice; deaths in custody; inhuman conditions in prisons; and racial inequality in the criminal legal system.

Ruth previously worked at the Centre for Innovative Justice where she delivered a ground-breaking report on reforming legal responses to sexual assault through restorative justice approaches. Prior to this, Ruth spent over four years working with the Aboriginal Legal Services in Western Australia and in the Northern Territory where she focused on youth justice and prisoner rights. She has also worked as a criminal defence lawyer with Victoria Legal Aid and as a legal advisor to government.

Ruth’s international experience includes working with the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia – the United Nations court responsible for prosecuting senior members of the Khmer Rouge. She has consulted to Open Society Foundations on strategies to reduce the risk of torture and mistreatment in police custody and received a scholarship to attend Open Society Foundations’ Strategic Human Rights Litigation course. In 2018, Ruth was awarded the Ian Potter Foundation’s international study grant to travel to the US to learn from leading academics and organisations tackling mass-imprisonment.

Ruth has a Masters of Laws (with a focus on criminology) from the University of Sydney and a Masters of International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. She is on the board of the Women’s Legal Service Victoria and is a member of the Law Council of Australia’s Human Rights Committee.

Mr Robert Bonett

Doctoral Candidate (Clinical and Forensic Psychology), Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science | Swinburne University of Technology

Robert is a candidate in the Doctor of Psychology (Clinical & Forensic) program at Swinburne University of Technology. His research is focussed on the efficacy of Restorative Justice Conferencing in reducing offending behaviour in young people and the mechanisms of change involved in these interventions. He has a particular interest in the development of social cognition and empathy. Robert has a long history working with NGOs in the Youth Justice, Disability and Out of Home Care sectors prior to his clinical training.

Magistrate Jennifer Bowles

Children’s Court of Victoria

Magistrate Jennifer Bowles was appointed to the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria 21 years ago.

For over half that time, she has sat in the Children’s Court of Victoria. She is the supervising Magistrate for the Children’s Koori Court.

Together with a colleague, she established the Sex Offences List in 2009 in the Criminal Division and in 2012 the Sexual Abuse List in the Family Division of the Children’s Court at Melbourne.

In 2014 Magistrate Bowles was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to review options for residential therapeutic treatment for young people suffering from substance abuse issues and not engaging in treatment.

Her research was conducted in Sweden, England, Scotland and New Zealand.

Magistrate Bowles has sat on numerous Judicial College of Victoria Steering Committees and has chaired and co-chaired the Education Committee of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and the Judicial Wellbeing Committee.

She is an associate researcher regarding the establishment of a ‘cross over list’ in the Children’s Court and chairs the Crossover Children’s Research Advisory Committee.

In 2016 Magistrate Bowles annotated the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 in the textbook ‘Family Violence and Child Protection Law in Victoria.

Ms Liana Buchanan

Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People

Liana Buchanan is the Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People and also sits as a part-time Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Liana has a background in oversight and system reform for people experiencing disadvantage, and those affected by family violence and sexual assault. Her past roles include Director, Office of Correctional Services Review, where Liana monitored Victoria’s prisons, Executive Officer of the peak body for CLCs, the Federation of Community Legal Centres, and as a lawyer at agencies including the Women’s Legal Service and the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Since commencing in her current role, Liana has strengthened the Commission for Children and Young People’s oversight of youth justice centres. The Commission:

  • has conducted a systemic inquiry into the use of isolation and lockdowns in youth justice centres and several individual inquiries into alleged misconduct against children in youth justice
  • monitored and reported on the treatment of children held in the Grevillea Unit at Barwon Prison and any children subsequently transferred to adult prisons
  • reviews all serious incidents in youth justice centres
  • oversees allegations of abuse of minors in youth justice by staff or volunteers
  • runs a scheme of community volunteers who visit children and young people in youth justice to raise concerns on their behalf.

Dr Jan Browne

Senior Research and Evaluation Officer, Centre for Evaluation and Research, DHHS

Jan obtained her PhD in 2000. Jan is an experienced researcher and evaluator specialising in qualitative research methods, particularly analysis. The emphasis in Jan’s research to date has been social justice – in public health and health care settings and, more recently, human services research and evaluation. In all her professional practice Jan has emphasised the need to explore, understand and be responsive to the perspectives and needs of research participants. Jan has been the recipient of NHMRC, ARC and University grants and is widely published, including in some well-known journals. Since joining the Department of Health and Human Services in 2011, Jan has managed, conducted and completed research with a diverse range of stakeholders, community members and participant groups. Research cohorts have included young people and people who are living with: sexual health issues including male sex work; social disadvantage; disability; homelessness; chronic illness; bipolar disorder; dying; and podiatric care for Māori living with diabetes. Jan is passionate about listening to people and bringing individual voices together to tell a powerful collective story.

Ms Elena Campbell

Associate Director, RMIT Centre for Innovative Justice

Elena Campbell is a lawyer, speechwriter and former political staffer who has worked in legal and social policy for nearly 20 years. Elena’s expertise includes therapeutic justice, equal opportunity and human rights, as well as the prevention and elimination of violence against women.

As Associate Director at the CIJ, Elena oversees a program of research which predominantly focuses on family violence. Within this program, Elena has developed expertise in the area of perpetrator interventions, as well as the operation of court processes which attempt to respond to family violence.

In this capacity, Elena has led projects for Government departments and courts, to support the implementation of recommendations from Victoria’s RCFV. Elena is also involved in ANROWS funded projects focusing on interventions with perpetrators of family violence. In particular, Elena has led the ground-breaking PIPA Project – Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent violence in the home – which brings together the CIJ’s emphasis on addressing family violence with its focus on ensuring that the justice system functions as a positive intervention in people’s lives, rather than a one size fits all response.

Judge Amanda Chambers

President of the Children’s Court

Judge Amanda Chambers was appointed a Judge of the County Court of Victoria and President of the Children’s Court of Victoria on 9 June 2015.  Judge Chambers is also a member of the Victorian Courts Council, the Board of the Judicial College of Victoria and the Judicial Commission of Victoria.

Prior to her appointment, Her Honour served as a Magistrate of the State of Victoria for over eight years and as Supervising Magistrate of the Sexual Offences List for three years.

Judge Chambers also served as a part-time Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission from 2008-2012 and considered references including Protection Applications in the Children’s Court, Jury Directions, Sex Offender Registration and Guardianship law.

Prior to her appointment as a Magistrate, Her Honour was a solicitor specialising in the area of industrial relations and employment law.

Ms Laura Chipp

Unit Manager (State-wide) | Managing Principal Lawyer, Specialist Children’s Court Prosecutions Unit (SCCPU), Prosecutions Division | Legal Services Department | Victoria Police

Laura Chipp started her legal career as a long term volunteer at Springvale Monash Legal Services, specialising with SECASA Joint Legal Clinic assisting victims of sexual abuse seek compensation, which she has done since 2008. Laura worked for Victoria Legal Aid for almost a decade where she worked in a number of offices including Melbourne, Ringwood, Horsham, Frankston offices and Youth Crime in city. She has also worked in mental health law, VOCAT, infringements and other civil areas including presenting community legal education focusing on children to hundreds of students about their legal rights and responsibilities under the law. Laura has also provide legal training and worked with vulnerable children in the Philippines and Uganda. In 2015 Laura completed her masters of law at Melbourne University specialising in public and international law. Laura primarily worked in criminal law and then shifted to working predominantly in youth law where in her final year at VLA was program manager of the state-wide youth crime program. Laura was seconded and then employed by Victoria Police where she created and now leads the Specialist Children’s Court Prosecution Unit (SCCPU) which is a state-wide first of its kind Specialist prosecution unit for children. Laura has 16 Police Prosecutors and Police Lawyers in Melbourne city and 80 portfolio holders across the state. This new unit was only created 24 months ago and continues to grow and develop. Laura has recently been awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2019, where in early 2020 she is researching best practice to develop a legislated conditional caution framework for children. The fellowship will focus on best practice approaches for pre-charge diversions for children, with an aim to get them out of the justice system at the earliest possible time, reduce recidivism and increasing victim satisfaction and community safety.

Mr Gai Chuatwea

Commission for Children and Young People

Gai Chuatwea arrived in Australia at the age of 11 from South Sudan via a Kenyan refugee camp and has lived the experience that is the background of many young people who unfortunately end up in the youth justice system.

This year he has been visiting the youth justice centres at Parkville and Malmsbury as an independent visitor, for the  Commission for Children and Young People.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University, is now a JD student at Monash and will be starting a clerkship at the Legal Aid Commission at the end of the year.

Indi Clarke

Executive Officer, Koorie Youth Council   

Born in Narrm (Melbourne) and raised in Mildura, Indi Clarke is a proud Mutti Mutti & Lardil man with ties to Wemba Wemba, Boon Wurrung and Trawlwoolway.

Indi is a passionate advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the power of strength based approaches and Aboriginal knowledge systems. Indi believes that the path to positive change starts with empowered families and communities as well as a holistic approach to healing and wellbeing.

Indi is the Executive Officer of the Koorie Youth Council and takes great pride contributing to work that gives back to his communities.

Ms Suzan Cox QC OAM

Director NT Legal Aid Commission
  • Suzan is the Director of the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission.
  • Suzan has been practising as a criminal defence lawyer for 40 years.
  • Ms Cox was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002 and is a Fellow of the Charles Darwin University Law School.
  • Ms Cox was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2019.

Dr Mick Creati

Senior Fellow, Royal Australian College of Physicians

Dr Mick Creati is a Paediatrician and Adolescent Physician. Mick was Head of the Medical Services, in the Parkville Youth Justice Precinct, from 2011 to 2013.

In 2016, he was summonsed to provide evidence to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory regarding the standards of health care for children in detention.

Over the last six years Mick has worked as a Paediatrician at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, in Fitzroy, providing medical care to children involved in both the Child Protection and Youth Justice Systems.

Mick has for the last 19 years also been employed as an Adolescent Physician in the Department of Adolescent Medicine, Royal Children’s Hospital.

Mick is a Senior Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.  He is the College’s spokesperson on raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Magistrate Sue Duncombe

NSW Local Court Magistrate

Magistrate Sue Duncombe was sworn in as a Magistrate of the Local Court in January 2010. In September of that year she was appointed to the Children’s Court and has maintained that appointment since that time.

Prior to her appointment Magistrate Duncombe was a Foundation Director of the Mawul Rom Association and in this capacity worked closely with the Yolngu people of North East Arnhem Land developing and delivering cross cultural mediation, negotiation and leadership training.  Magistrate Duncombe also participated in traditional healing ceremonies with the Elders and community members on Elcho Island.   Magistrate Duncombe is also a trained and experienced mediator.

In February 2015 Magistrate Duncombe presided over the first sitting of the NSW Youth Koori Court which began its operation on a pilot basis that year.  She continues that work at Parramatta Children’s Court and more recently, with significant support from the NSW government, in Surry Hills Children’s Court.

Judge Penelope Eldridge

Courts Administration Authority

Judge Penelope Eldridge was appointed a Magistrate in August 2003 and sat in the Civil Division at the Adelaide Magistrates Court for more than 6 years and at the Youth Court for a similar period.

In March 2016 she was appointed a Judge of the District Court, sitting as a Judge of the Youth Court and she remains in this position.

Prior to her appointment as a judicial officer, Judge Eldridge practiced as a solicitor for 27 years principally in the areas of commercial litigation, defamation, estate litigation and education law.

Rosalinda (Ros) Fogliani

State Coroner, Western Australia

Ms Fogliani was appointed and assumed the role as Western Australia’s State Coroner on January 13, 2014.

Ms Fogliani was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of WA in 1985.  She started her career at Keall Brinsden as an articled clerk and restricted practitioner, before moving to Mallesons Stephen Jaques in 1987 as a solicitor, and then to Blake Dawson Waldron as a senior associate in 1991.

From 1993 to 2011, Ms Fogliani worked at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, including 6 years as Deputy Director and head of Office in Western Australia.

In 2011, she joined Francis Burt Chambers as a barrister, where her areas of practice included administrative and constitutional law, coronial inquiries, corporations, criminal law, disciplinary tribunals, professional negligence and taxation.

Manuela Galvao

Director Child Dispute Services (VIC/TAS) | Federal Court of Australia, Family Court of Australia, Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Manuela commenced as a Family Court Counsellor with the Family Court of Australia in 1987, undertaking child focussed family assessments, writing Family Reports and providing expert evidence to the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Manuela has been in senior clinical and management positions since 2007.

In her current role as Director, Child Dispute Services (Victoria and Tasmania), Manuela is responsible for:

·         maintaining quality service standards for both internal and outsourced family consultant services,

·         developing innovative professional practices and services consistent with the policies of the Courts, and

·         ensuring a high level of service delivery and quality clinical support to judicial officers in both the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

At a broader policy level, this position is also responsible for and providing strategic advice from a regional perspective to advance the reputation and quality of the service to both Courts and to the community.

Manuela also has a background as a Senior Practitioner in Child Protection Services, Victoria.

Manuela holds a Bachelor of Social Work Degree, Melbourne University (1981)

Recent Presentations:

  • Assessing for Family Violence in s11F Interventions, AIJA Conference, May 2016, Melbourne
  • Family Violence Screening – Evaluation of a Screening Tool for Family Consultants, AFCC (Australian Chapter) Conference, August 2016, Brisbane
  • Child Abuse in Family Law cases, National Training for Independent Children’s Lawyers, July 2019

Dr. Lynore K. Geia

Academic Lead – Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island Health, CNMR Indigenous Futures Research Lead, College of Healthcare Sciences, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine | James Cook University

Dr Lynore Geia (PhD) is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman born and raised on Palm Island off the coast of North Queensland, a forced Aboriginal community (1918 -1980s) under government legislation, now home to the Bwgcolman people. Lynore is a nurse and midwife, and is currently employed as Academic Lead for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in the College of Health Care Sciences at James Cook University, Townsville. Lynore is an experienced health professional in Indigenous health and has worked at State, Territory, and Federal level, and is committed to developing effective research practice for service reforms that particularly impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island holistic family health. Lynore has recently worked on a correctional services project in relation to Indigenous sex offender programs, and brings a legitimacy in her perspective from the shared lived experience of the impact of incarceration on Indigenous people in community. Lynore maintains that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not divorced from their families and communities when they are incarcerated. The separation from family, kinship and culture can hinder meaningful engagement for family in throughcare processes, and this can limit rehabilitation, and influence increased recidivism. Lynore reasons that a throughcare process commencing at the point of sentencing for the offender, should also include their family or kin, to ensure that supports are in place at the time of release. Hence, the need to not only work with the young person in prison prior to release from custody, but also to work with the family. Lynore’s work in health and prison related care in community has extended to public health and social justice advocacy and activism on social media – Twitter @LynoreGeia

Professor Felicity Gerry QC

Crockett Chambers

Professor Felicity Gerry QC is at Crockett Chambers, Melbourne and Carmelite Chambers, London, largely defending in serious and complex trials and appeals, often with an international element, including three recent terrorism trials. She is also Professor of Legal Practice at Deakin University where she lectures in Contemporary International Legal Challenges, including Modern Slavery Law. Felicity has a long history of dealing with matters involving children and vulnerable adults and is an Ambassador for the The Advocate’s Gateway, producing toolkits for advocacy with vulnerable people and currently re-drafting Toolkit 18 on Trauma Informed Courts. She is widely published on issues relating to vulnerability and communication, including a recent joint book chapter with NAAJA Director David Woodroffe on Indigenous witnesses and parties: Anunga 40 Years On. She has trained lawyers across the EU on the rights of children with mental disabilities. She was Legal Personality of the Year 2016 after leading the appeal in R v Jogee and has been recognised in the Legal 500 as a leading silk and as “Fearless and independent minded”.

Ms Deborah Glass

Victorian Ombudsman

Deborah Glass is the Victorian Ombudsman. She was appointed to a 10-year term in March 2014. Her office looks at the decisions and actions of Victorian government departments, local councils, statutory bodies and their contractors.

Deborah was raised in Melbourne and studied law at Monash University. She practiced law briefly before leaving Australia, working for an investment bank in Switzerland before moving into a career in financial services regulation in Hong Kong and London. She then moved into police oversight and became a Commissioner of the Independent Police Complaints Commission of England and Wales, heading up criminal and misconduct investigations into police. In 2008, Deborah was appointed IPCC Deputy Chair and in 2012, was awarded an OBE for her service.

Deborah is on the board of the International Ombudsman Institute, which connects more than 190 Ombudsman offices world-wide, and is also a member of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association.

Deborah is committed to ensuring fair and reasonable decision making, and to improving public administration. She holds a firm belief in public sector integrity and advancing human rights.

Dr Faith Gordon

Lecturer in Criminology, Monash University 

Dr. Faith Gordon is a Lecturer in Criminology at Monash University; Director of the Interdisciplinary International Youth Justice Network; Research Associate at the Information Law & Policy Centre, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster.  From 2016-2018, she worked as a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Westminster before moving to Monash University in September 2018.

Faith has developed an international scholarly and advocacy reputation in the area of the rights of children in conflict with the law and specifically in the dynamics of youth justice, the media’s treatment of youth, young people’s engagement with the media, policing and legal responses.

Faith was lead researcher on the ESRC Knowledge Exchange Project: Identifying and Challenging the Negative Media Representation of Children and Young People in Northern Ireland.  The large-scale fieldwork involved over 150 children, as well as workshops with journalists, editors, policymakers, politicians, police and those working in the NGO sector. Emerging from this project were a number of impactful academic, policy and practice-based outputs, as well as educational and training-focused resources, which have been used and cited internationally.

Faith has been a Co-I on a research project on Older Victims of Crime and Crime Clearance Rates, funded by the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland. Faith has also been a researcher for The Hillsborough Independent Panel; the Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative; Save the Children and the Children’s Law Centre.  The findings of her research have been published as a monograph, book chapters and also in high impact criminology and law journals, as well as paper presentations and as part of invited plenary sessions at national and international criminology, socio-legal and journalism conferences.

Faith regularly submits research and policy responses to organisations such as the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child; Department of Justice; IMPRESS; UK Government; N. Ireland Office; Scottish Government. Her research has fed into key discussions on the development of journalism education; the drafting of new UK regulatory guidelines for the media (IMPRESS) and called for revisions to existing guidelines (IPSO), which have been revised in light of her research on UK journalists’ use of children’s social media content without consent. She also regularly works with legal practitioners to integrate the evidence-base of a decade’s worth of her research into their legal submissions for Judicial Review cases on police release of images of children (pre-charge and post-charge), with specific emphasis on the digital age.

Faith’s research was referenced by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, at the examination of the UK Government’s child rights record (2015); in Judicial Review hearings at the Northern Ireland High Court (2016; 2017) and most recently, in the UK Court of Appeal (2019).

Carmel Guerra OAM

CEO, Centre for Multicultural Youth

Carmel Guerra is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Multicultural Youth, the first and largest organisation in Australia to work exclusively with migrant and refugee young people.

Carmel has been a strong advocate for young people of refugee and migrant backgrounds in Victoria for over 30 years and she has a longstanding involvement in youth justice and policing issues.  Carmel is widely respected for her commentary on youth gangs and crime.

CMY developed and runs the Youth Referral and Independent Person Program (YRIPP), a volunteer program that provides young people in police custody with an adult in attendance when a parent or guardian is not available. CMY also  delivers youth crime prevention programs which support young people in custody or at risk of engaging in youth crime.

Carmel is a member of the Victorian Youth Parole Board and the Victorian Police Commissioner’s Human Rights Strategic Advisory Committee. She is the Chairperson of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network, the national peak body representing multicultural youth issues in Australia.

Carmel was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2016 and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Community harmony in 2015.

Ms Katy Haire

Deputy Secretary, School Education Programs and Support Group

Since September 2015, Katy Haire has lead the  School Education Programs and Support Group (SEPS) as Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education and Training, Victoria.

The Deputy Secretary, SEPS has a lead responsibility to shape the Education State to ensure that we build a system that provides every student with the knowledge, capabilities and attributes that will see them thrive throughout their lives. Its four key roles are as policy lead, system architect, commissioner and program designer. This ensures better outcomes for all students regardless of their start in life and promotes excellence and equity.

SEPS works in close collaboration and partnership with other parts of the Department, statutory authorities, service delivery partners, parents and families.

Prior to joining the Department, Katy held a range of senior management and executive roles within the Victorian public sector, including Deputy Secretary of Service Design and Operations at the Department of Health and Human Services, and as Director of Social Policy at the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC).

Katy holds a Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) from Monash University, a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in political science and history, and a Master of Arts in the history of education from the University of Melbourne. She also holds an Executive Master of Public Administration from the University of Melbourne and is a Senior Executive Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School, and Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Sarah Hopkins

Chair, Just Reinvest NSW | Managing Solicitor of Justice Projects at the Aboriginal Legal Service ACT/NSW

Sarah Hopkins is Chair of the Just Reinvest NSW and the Managing Solicitor of Justice Projects at the Aboriginal Legal Service ACT/NSW. She is an accredited specialist in criminal law and has lectured in criminal law at the University of NSW.

Sarah has been working with the Bourke community since 2012 and is Project Director of Maranguka Justice Reinvestment in Bourke, which was the recipient of the 2015 National Rural Law and Justice Award.

Sarah is a member of the NSW Bar Association’s Joint Working Party on the Over-representation of Indigenous People in the NSW Criminal Justice System. Throughout her career Sarah has served on numerous committees including the Criminal Law Committee of the Law Society of NSW, the Steering Committee for the Red Cross Vulnerability Report 2015, and as Vice President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. In 2017 Sarah was named the Community Lawyer of the Year by the Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW.

Mr Matthew Hyde

Executive Principal Parkville College

Matthew Hyde is the Executive Principal at Parkville College.

The College opened in 2012 and took aim at creating a substantial program to meet the diverse needs of children unfortunate enough to find themselves in custody. After quickly establishing itself as an effective support for children. the school grew quickly. Now in its 7th year, spanning 52 weeks, 5 sites and annually supporting in excess of 1,500 children, the school is widely regarded as an integral component of Youth Justice in Victoria. Setting a new level of expectation around academic development and achievement.

As an inaugural staff member of the school, Matthew has been influential in leading the growth of Parkville College. Ensuring that whilst the school expanded, academic rigour and therapeutic care remain prevalent for every child and that the school set an example for all educational environments around effective student growth and care.

Anouska Jeronimus

Program Manager Youth Crime, Victoria Legal Aid

Anoushka Jeronimus started work for legal aid twelve years ago.  Prior to VLA, she worked at the Top End Women’s Legal Service in the Northern Territory and Cambodia. She started in the then youth legal service working in both divisions of the Children’s Court in Melb and at Metropolitan Courts, moving into the youth crime team after the service was split and has been the Youth Crime Program Manager for five years, with a period in the US doing an internship at the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama. As program manager, Anoushka manages a specialist team of YC lawyers and also has responsibility for how youth crime is practised across the State. She is an LIV accredited specialist in both children’s law and criminal law and is on the LIV Children’s Law Specialisation Advisory Committee.

Dr Diana Johns

Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Melbourne

Diana Johns is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Melbourne. Diana’s research interests include post-prison reintegration, restorative and therapeutic justice, and the experiences of young people involved with the justice system. She spent 2015 in Wales doing postdoctoral research on young people’s prolific offending, for the Youth Justice Board (YJB Cymru). Her current research is focused on: African-Australian young people’s experience of criminalisation, exclusion and inclusion; restorative responses to adolescent family violence; use of apps in justice settings; and co-production of criminal justice knowledge. Her book, Being and Becoming an Ex-Prisoner, was published by Routledge in 2018.

Judge Peter Johnstone

President of the Children’s Court of NSW

Peter Johnstone is the President of the Children’s Court of New South Wales, a position he has held since 2012.

The Children’s Court is comprised of the President and 15 specialist Children’s Magistrates and 10 Children’s Registrars, located at Parramatta, Surry Hills, Lismore, Broadmeadow, Wyong, Port Kembla and Campbelltown.  The Court has jurisdiction across NSW in respect of youth crime (ages 10 -18) and child protection.

The President has judicial, leadership and other, statutory responsibilities as prescribed by the Children’s Court Act 1997 which include the administration of the Court and the arrangement sittings and circuits; the appointment of Children’s Magistrates in consultation with the Chief Magistrate; convening meetings of Children’s Magistrates and overseeing their training; convening and chairing meetings of the Advisory Committee which is responsible for providing advice to the Attorney General and Minister for Family and Community Services; and conferring regularly with community groups and social agencies on matters involving children and the Court.

Ms Sally Kedge

Speech-language Therapist and court-appointed Communication Assistant. RMNZSTA (registered member of NZSTA) | Director/Coordinator of Talking Trouble Aotearoa NZ

Sally Kedge is a speech-language therapist and court-Communication Assistant. Sally is originally from England but has lived and worked in New Zealand since 2002. With qualifications in Linguistics and Speech-Language Therapy, she has worked across education, health, justice and care sectors and has held university teaching and research appointments. She is the Director of the social enterprise, Talking Trouble Aotearoa New Zealand.

Talking Trouble’s team of specialist speech-language therapists are passionate about building awareness of, and capacity to respond to, the speech, language and communication needs of children, adolescents and adults involved with care and protection, justice, mental health or behaviour services. Sally and her team work directly with children and adults to ensure their voices are heard and that they can understand and participate in important interactions in their lives. They also provide training and support for others, with the aim of transforming how people communicate with children, adolescents and adults with speech, language and communication needs. Their work includes Court-appointed Communication Assistant roles, speech-language therapy assessments and interventions, mediating communication within Family Group Conferences, building communication-capability with these sectors and developing communication-accessible resources. They are engaged in research in partnership with The University of Auckland and Sally is an Advisor to the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists’ Association.

Miss Fiona Kepert

NT Legal Aid Commission

Fiona is a criminal lawyer, she is currently heading up the youth justice team at Legal Aid.

Fiona was previously the managing solicitor in grants at NT Legal Aid, and has also worked at Aboriginal Legal Aid in the Northern Territory.

Professor Stuart Kinner

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Professor Stuart Kinner is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and leads a program of research on the health of marginalised and justice-involved people. He is Head of the Justice Health Unit at the University of Melbourne, and Group Leader, Justice Health in the Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. He also holds Honorary appointments at Monash University, University of Queensland, Griffith University, University of British Columbia, and the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement.

Stuart is experienced in longitudinal studies, multi-sectoral data linkage, randomised controlled trials, program evaluation, policy analysis, systematic review, and meta-analysis. He has produced >200 publications and attracted >$24 million in research and consulting funds, mostly from nationally competitive schemes. Stuart Chairs Australia’s National Youth Justice Health Advisory Group, and the WHO Health in Prisons Programme Technical Expert Group. He Co-Chairs the Research Committee in the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health, and co-convenes the Justice Health Special Interest Group in the Public Health Association of Australia. He serves on the Steering Committee for the Worldwide Prison Health Research & Engagement Network (WEPHREN), is a member of the WHO Steering Group on Prisons Health, and leads the Health Theme in the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

Ms Soula Kontomichalos

General Manager, Youth Justice, South East Metropolitan Region, Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS)

Soula has extensive experience in the social welfare system having held management roles in the Department of Justice & Community Safety and Department of Health & Human Services. Her responsibilities have included regional oversight of the Youth Justice Program, Children’s Court Youth Diversion Service, Youth Offending Programs,  Disability Client Services, Disability Residential Services, Housing Assistance & Advice Services and DHHS client reception services.

Ms Andreea Lachsz

Churchill Fellow

Andreea Lachsz is a Churchill Fellow who investigated overseas practices of monitoring treatment and conditions in places of detention within the criminal justice system, in anticipation of the establishment of a culturally-appropriate inspection regime in the Northern Territory. Her research focused on compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and tailoring inspections to meet the needs of Aboriginal prisoners and detainees in the NT, who are over-represented in the criminal justice system. She has previously worked at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency as the community legal education coordinator and as a criminal defence solicitor at NAAJA and Victoria Legal Aid, and volunteers as a humanitarian observer with the Australian Red Cross Immigration Detention Monitoring Program. Andreea gave evidence at the Royal Commission and Board of Inquiry Into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory on the delivery of legal education to children in Don Dale Youth Detention Centre on their rights and responsibilities in detention.

Mr Temese Leilua

Le Mana (Empower) Pasifika Youth Project, Program Development Leader

Talofa lava and greetings,
My name is Temese Leilua of Samoan descent. I am currently employed by the Centre for Multicultural Youth in my role as Program Development Lead for the ‘Le Mana’ Empower Pasifika Youth Project. I have a Diploma in Community Development with over 20 years of experience working in the youth and community services sector particularly with Pasifika young people and their families.

My other roles include advisor to the United Pasifika Council of Victoria and member of the Victorian Samoan Advisory Council. I am a layman preacher and head elder for the Carrum Downs Samoan SDA Church.
I am happily married to my beautiful wife of 25 years and my soul mate Patricia. I am a proud father of 4 lovely young adults who were all born here in Australia having the best of both worlds, their Samoan Pasifika culture and their Australian Western culture.

My passion is to continue supporting and mentoring Pasifika young people living here in Melbourne Victoria.  Pasifika people are a very proud people steep in their cultural values and heritage; however here in Australia the young people struggle more than most CALD young people to find their place in society and to participate successfully in the Australian way of life.

Samoan proverb: ‘O le tagata ma lona faasinomaga – O le tagata ma lona aiga’ (A person and their identity – A person and their family)

Faafetai / Thank you

Ms Peta Lowe

Principal Consultant, Phronesis Consulting and Training, Australia

Peta Lowe is a Principal Consultant with Phronesis Consulting and Training. She is the former Director, Countering Violent Extremism for Juvenile Justice in the NSW Department of Justice. Peta has over 13 years experience working with young people who display violent and anti-social offending behaviours in both custodial and community contexts. She has worked with individuals, families and communities to address offending behaviours and criminogenic risks. Peta graduated from Newcastle University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours Class I), from Charles Sturt University in 2010 with a Masters of Social Work (Advanced Practice/Couples and Family Therapy Specialisation), from Queensland University of Technology in 2016 with a Graduate Certificate in Business (Public Sector Management) and most recently in 2018 from Charles Sturt University with a Masters in Terrorism and Security Studies (Postgraduate University Medal). Peta led the Juvenile Justice NSW responses to countering violent extremism and counter terrorism including the assessment, intervention and management of young people charged with terrorism related offences in both community and custody and agency responses to manage the risk of radicalisation to violent extremism within custodial settings. Peta is trained and experienced in the use of a number of violent extremist risk assessment tools and has conducted and coordinated assessments of juvenile terrorism related offenders and young people vulnerable to being radicalised to violent extremism. She is also an accredited trainer to train users in the VERA-2R risk assessment tool within Australia. Peta has presented on ‘Managing the emerging risk of juvenile terrorist offenders and radicalisation in juvenile justice centres’ at the Conference on the Rehabilitation of Terrorist and Radicalised Offenders in Sydney, November 2017. She was keynote speaker at the 3rd Australasian Youth Justice Conference “Contemporary Challenges: Innovative Solutions” in May 2019 in Sydney, Australia and was a panellist discussing the key issues regarding violent extremism at the 16th National Safeguarding Australia Conference in May 2019 in Canberra. Peta participated as an international expert in the Juvenile Justice Expert Workshop being hosted by The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) in March 2019 in Malta. Peta is currently focused on developing and delivering training, assessment and interventions to; improve social cohesion, divert vulnerable young people from violent extremism, disengage and rehabilitate juvenile terrorism related offenders and reduce the risk violent extremism poses to individuals and community safety.

Mr Tony McAvoy SC

Frederick Jordan Chambers | NSW Bar

Tony McAvoy is a Wirdi man from the central Queensland area around Clermont. He is also a native title holder in his grandmother’s country around Thargomindah in southwest Queensland.

Tony commenced work in 1983 at the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as an articled clerk. He studied part time at QUT. He graduated and was admitted as a solicitor in 1988. He continued to practice as a solicitor working in private  practice and at the ATSILS, with some travel, until 1994. In 1994 he was employed in a policy position in the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, later appointed as Manager of the Heritage and Natural Resources Branch, and served 18 months as Registrar, Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983.

In January 2000 he was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW. He was worked extensively in criminal law, administrative law including disciplinary tribunals, coronial inquests, discrimination law, but in recent years has largely practiced in the area of native title. Tony has successfully represented the Githabul, Quandamooka, Kalkadoon, Pitta Pitta, Kullilli, Barngarla and in November 2017 the Gooreng Gooreng people in native title claims in the Federal Court.

In August 2016 he was appointed Co-Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

In 2017 he was advisor to and negotiator for the Narungga People in their treaty negotiations with the State of South Australia. He has advised on the Victoria Treaty Advancement Bill, written numerous papers and spoken nationally and internationally on treaties and truth commissions on many occasions.

In 2018 he was the QUT Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.

In 2010 Tony was awarded the Inaugural National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year Award From 2011 to 2013, Tony held an appointment as an Acting Part-Time Commissioner on NSW Land and Environment Court.  Tony is the current co-chair of the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee of the Law Council of Australia, and the Chair of the NSW Bar Association’s First Nations Committee. He is a trustee of the NSW Bar Associations Indigenous Barristers Trust.

Mr Glen McClure

Manager – Community Justice Programs, Jesuit Social Services

Glen McClure is the Manager of Community Justice Programs at Jesuit Social Services. Glen has worked for fifteen years in Residential Care, Child Protection and Youth Justice sectors. Over ten years with Jesuit Social Services, Glen has demonstrated a passion and commitment working within the Restorative Justice sector. Glen is a strong advocate for growth and expansion of Restorative Practices in new and innovative sectors including Family Violence, Education, Community Conferencing and working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Association Professor Kath McFarlane

Director of Kath McFarlane Consulting

Associate Professor Kath McFarlane is the Director of Kath McFarlane Consulting.  She is a former Chief of Staff to the NSW Attorney General, Minister for Family and Community Services and Social Housing, and Minister for Planning (2011-2015), the former Executive Officer of both the NSW Sentencing Council and the NSW Children’s Court and former Deputy Director of the Centre for Law and Justice at Charles Sturt University (CSU).

Kath has provided policy advice to a range of government agencies, including the Department for Women, Family and Community Services, CorrectionsHealth and the Department of Justice.  She sits on a number of government and NGO boards and committees, including the NSW Corrective Services’ Women’s Advisory Council, where she advises on the intersection between the Out-Of-Home-Care and criminal justice systems.

Ms Melissa Merritt

Aboriginal Alcohol Other Drug Project Worker – Far Western NSW

Melissa Merritt is a Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi woman born in Sydney and raised in the Redfern/Waterloo areas. Melissa’s Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi bloodlines are from Cowra and Quirindi NSW. Melissa currently lives in Sydney and has worked in the Redfern area for the past 6 years.

Melissa is currently undertaking a project in Broken Hill, Far Western NSW as the Aboriginal Alcohol and other Drug Project worker for Community Restorative Centre, Canterbury. Melissa has over 20 years’ experience in the Community Services sector.

For the past 6 years Melissa has worked in a Non-Government organization where she developed significant community links and took a pivotal role in developing a youth justice program.

Melissa is a single mother of 2 daughters and is most passionate about community driven solutions in reducing the incarceration and recidivism rates of Aboriginal people in the Criminal Justice System.

Ms Megan Mitchell

National Children’s Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

Megan Mitchell is Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, appointed in 2013.

Megan has previous experience in both government and non-government roles in child protection, out-of-home care, youth justice, disability, and early childhood services. Megan also holds qualifications in social policy, psychology and education.

In her role as Commissioner, Megan focuses solely on the rights and interests of children, and the laws, policies and programs that impact on them.

Each year, Megan presents a statutory report to federal Parliament on the state of children’s rights in Australia. In her work to date, Megan has focused on the prevalence of suicide and intentional self-harm in children and young people, the impact of family and domestic violence on children and young people, the oversight of children and young people in correctional detention, and the experiences and trajectories of young parents and their children.

Mr Justin Mohamed

Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People

A Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg in Queensland, Justin Mohamed is Victoria’s Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People.

After 20 years working with Victorian Aboriginal communities, Justin took on national roles as Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia.

He has also chaired the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).

Dr David Moore

Conflict management / Constructive communication

David works as a facilitator, academic & trainer, writer and organisational systems designer.

The common theme of this work is supporting individuals to communicate constructively and organisations to change adaptively.

David consults independently from Melbourne, and is Principal Consultant with Sydney-based Primed Change Consulting.

He was a founding committee member of the Victorian Association for Restorative Justice, now the Australian Association for Restorative Justice, of which he is currently President.

David is also a Principal Consultant to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s restorative engagement program and the National Redress Scheme Direct Personal Response program.

He has taught in politics, history, peace & conflict studies and law at Melbourne, Charles Sturt, Queensland, La Trobe & James Cook Universities, and published widely in conflict management & organisational governance.

David’s work training Group Conference facilitators in Australia, North America and Europe, and providing facilitation and training services to Australian organizations across government, community and corporate sectors, inspired David Williamson’s Jack Manning Trilogy of plays: Face to Face, A Conversation, and Charitable Intent (1999 – 2001) and Michael Rymer’s award-winning (2011) film of Face to Face.

Ms Annette Murray

Deputy Managing Lawyer, Independent Children’s Lawyer, Accredited Family Law Specialist, Victoria Legal Aid, Family Law Program, Melbourne

Annette has practiced exclusively as a Family Lawyer since being admitted in 2011.  Joining Victoria Legal Aid in 2012, Annette has appeared in the Family Law Courts and in the family violence list of the Magistrates’ Court as duty lawyer and advocate, and has experience running complex family violence and parenting dispute cases.  Annette is an LIV Accredited Family Law Specialist and has been an Independent Children’s Lawyer since 2016. Annette is currently the Deputy Managing Lawyer, of the Independent Children’s Lawyer team in the Melbourne Family Law team at Victoria Legal Aid.

Ms Shahleena Musk

Senior Lawyer, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights Unit, Human Rights Legal Centre

Shahleena is a proud Larrakia woman from Darwin in the Northern Territory. She has worked for over 19 years as a criminal lawyer, in prosecutions or defence in both the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Prior to moving to Victoria she was integral in the creation, growth and overall management of a specialised youth legal service at NAAJA, the Aboriginal legal service in the Northern Territory. She worked for over 5 years as the senior lawyer in that youth team advising and representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in contact with the criminal legal system.

Presently, Shahleena is a Senior Lawyer within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights Unit at the Human Rights Law Centre. Her work is directed at reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the criminal legal system including reforms to unjust laws and policies that contribute to early criminalisation and adverse outcomes.

Clement Ng

Clement Ng graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne. He moved to Alice Springs in 2011 where he started working for the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission (NTLAC) as a criminal lawyer. Between 2011 and 2017, he was the designated youth justice lawyer in the Alice Springs office. He primarily represented both Indigenous and non-Indigenous young offenders in the Youth Justice Court and the Supreme Court. Between 2017 and 2019, Mr Ng worked as a senior policy lawyer at the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice. Mr Ng has been appointed to the Youth Justice Advisory Committee, previously as a nominee of the Law Society NT and then as the representative of the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice (AGD). He has lectured, presented papers and published on issues in relation to youth justice. Mr Ng completed his Master of Laws degree at the University of New South Wales in December 2016, specialising in criminal justice and human rights. Most recently, he was awarded a Churchill fellowship to study juvenile mental health courts and other justice response to children with mental health issues. He is currently undertaking a 12 months volunteer assignment as a senior legal officer at the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission.

Acting Judge Sue Oliver

Acting Judge, Northern Territory Local Court

Sue Oliver is an Acting Judge of the Northern Territory Local Court. Prior to her retirement in 2018 she had been Managing Judge of the NT Youth Justice Court and Child Protection matters. Over her 12 years on the bench she travelled extensively on circuit to preside in remote communities across the “Top End”.

She has had a diverse legal career beginning with the (then) North Australian Legal Aid Service in Darwin and then with the Commonwealth Deputy Crown  Solicitors Office followed by some short stints in private practice.
In 1986 she began an academic career and was an inaugural member of the Faculty of Law at the (then) Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University), that continued to her appointment as inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Law, Business and Arts. In 2000 she left the academic life to return to government in the Policy Division of the Attorney General’s Department and immediately prior to her appointment to the Bench she occupied the roles of both Director of Policy and Executive Director of Legal Services. During her time in government she both personally developed and oversaw major law reform including freedom of information and privacy legislation, major reforms of the Criminal Code including criminal responsibility, mental impairment and fitness to plead and sexual offences and the development of the Youth Justice Act.

Sue continues her interest in youth justice and child protection as a member of an advisory
committee to the Department of Territory Families.

Her Honour Deputy Chief Magistrate Leanne O’Shea

Deputy Chief Magistrate of the Magistrates Court of Queensland

Deputy Chief Magistrate O’Shea holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland (1978).

Her Honour was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1979 and as a solicitor of the High Court of Australia in 1994.

Her Honour was a partner and then sole practitioner at Delaney and Delaney from 1979. During her 22 years of practice, Her Honour distinguished herself as President of the Women’s Lawyers Association of Queensland 2001 – 2002 and as a member of its Executive for six years. Her Honour is involved in various community organisations, particularly Zonta.

On 1 October 2001, Her Honour was appointed to the Bench as Magistrate of the Magistrates Court of Queensland and has served in Ipswich, Bundaberg, Brisbane, Richlands and the Brisbane Children’s Court. Her Honour has served in all of the committees of the Court.

On 20 July 2012, Her Honour was appointed Magistrate of the Children’s Court at Brisbane.

On 8 July 2014 Magistrate O’Shea was appointed Deputy Chief Magistrate of the Magistrates Court of Queensland.

Ms Darshana Rathod

Family Consultant | Child Dispute Services, Melbourne Registry, Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Darshana Rathod is a Family Consultant with the Family Law Courts Melbourne. She qualified as a Social Worker in the UK in 2005 and undertook related post qualifying courses. Darshana has worked primarily in child protection settings in the UK, ACT, NSW and VIC. Darshana also has experience managing high risk family violence and sex offenders in a Community Corrections, managing and implementing a case management model, consulting child protection practitioners in responding to families where family violence is prevalent, and sub-contracting kinship and guardianship assessments in the UK and NSW. Darshana recently provided a lecture to university students about the impacts of family violence on children which she will continue to provide for the foreseeable future. Darshana joined the Family Law Courts in February 2018.

His Honour Denis Reynolds

  • Born and raised in Perth, WA.
  • Graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and Bachelor of Laws in 1975 and 1976 respectively.
  • Practiced in the Legal Profession in Perth from 1977 to 1984.
  • Appointed a Magistrate, Coroner and Mining Warden for WA in 1984.
  • Appointed a Commissioner of the District Court of WA in 1997.
  • Appointed a Judge of the District Court of WA in 2004 and became the Senior Judge of the District Court in 2016.
  • Appointed a Commissioner of the Supreme Court of WA in 2004.
  • Appointed the President of the Children’s Court of WA in 2004.
  • Recipient of the Western Australian Citizen of the Year Award 2012 – Community Category.
  • Appointment an Ambassador for Children and Young People in 2012 (Commissioner for Children and Young People).
  • Retired as the Senior Judge of the District Court of WA and President of the Children’s Court of WA in 2018.

Mr Jared Sharp

Former Jesuit Social Services Lawyer

Jared’s background is mainly as a criminal lawyer specialising in youth justice for Aboriginal legal services. He worked for almost 10 years for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA). Jared has been a longstanding advocate to address the human rights failings of the Northern Territory youth justice system, including in relation to the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and the resulting Royal Commission into NT Youth Detention and Child Protection.

Jared is a passionate advocate for change to the youth justice system, to develop innovation approaches that are trauma informed and culturally strengthening. In 2012, Jared received a Churchill Fellowship to consider culturally strengthening initiatives in Canada, New Zealand and the United States that could reduce the negative impacts of the justice system on Aboriginal young people. Jared has also completed a Master of Indigenous Knowledges (Mawul Rom).

Jared’s background includes education, mediation and restorative justice. He is currently working as an English and Humanities teacher at Darwin High School. Prior to commencing his current role, Jared was involved in introducing a youth justice restorative conferencing model to the Northern Territory. In 2016, Jared was awarded a 2016 NT Human Rights Award in the youth category.

Ms Natalie Siegel-Brown

CEO, Office of the Public Guardian Queensland

Natalie is the Queensland Public Guardian, an independent statutory appointment, and also operates as CEO of the Office of the Public Guardian.

Natalie is passionate about advocating for people experiencing vulnerability. Her career has been underpinned by her drive to protect the rights and interests of children and young people in the child protection system, in addition to adults who have impaired decision-making capacity. Before taking up the role as Public Guardian, Natalie was an Executive Director with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services where she led the child protection, domestic violence, carers, ageing and disability portfolios for the State.

Natalie began life as a lawyer but very quickly found herself working on the ground in Aboriginal communities on violence-prevention initiatives. Natalie has worked with communities from Cape York to the Western Desert.

As Natalie’s career progressed she was fortunate enough to lead organisations across all three sectors, public, private and NGO.

Natalie spent a number of years as the State Manager of the Queensland Government’s family violence portfolio where she was awarded for leadership excellence in family violence prevention. After managing the child protection, sexual violence and mental health portfolios of an Aboriginal Medical Service in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, she conducted child death reviews, analysing and recommending positive reforms to address systemic child protection and early intervention failures in both Victoria and Western Australia.

Natalie’s work in Indigenous Affairs and legal service policy has been published internationally and in 2002, she was awarded the inaugural Gowling Lafleur Henderson Award (University of Toronto). In addition to an Arts/Law Degree, Natalie also holds an Executive Certificate from Harvard University and is currently completing a double Masters degree (MBA and Masters of Public Politics & Administration).

Ms Mahnoor Sikandar

Doogue + George Defence lawyers

Mahnoor Sikandar is a solicitor at Doogue + George Defence Lawyers in Melbourne.  Prior to commencing in this role, she practiced as a criminal solicitor at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) based in the Katherine office for two years.

Practicing following the findings of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory in 2017, Mahnoor advocated strongly for indigenous youth involved in the criminal justice system and for the inclusion of culturally driven solutions at all stages of the criminal process, particularly in remote communities where resources were most scarce.

While completing her law studies at the University of Melbourne, Mahnoor also worked in legal aid offices in Pakistan and with female prisoners in Karachi Central jail.

Dr Melanie Simmons

Research Fellow | Psychologist, Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science | Swinburne University of Technology

Dr Melanie Simmons is a research fellow with the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Catalyst Con­sortium. Her research interests broadly focus on family violence and assessing the risk of problem behaviours. Melanie’s doctoral thesis investigated child-to-parent abuse in Australia. Two of the publications from her thesis have won awards, including the Australian Psychological Society’s Maconochie Prize which recognises outstanding forensic psychology research by students. Melanie has delivered training to Youth Justice and the Victoria Police’s Family Violence Investigation Units on how to assess and manage general offending and family violence, respectively. Melanie is also a psychologist with Forensicare working at Thomas Embling Hospital and the Lead Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Trainer for prisons and community corrections staff across Victoria.

Judge Heemi Maana Taumaunu

National Liaison Judge for Rangatahi Courts

“Ko Hikurangi te maunga

Ko Waiapu te awa

Ko Ngāti Pōrou te iwi

Ko Te Aitanga-ā-Hauiti te iwi taketake

Ko Ngāti Konohi te hapu

Ko Whāngārā-mai-tawhiti te marae

Ko Paikea, ko Pōrourangi me Tahu-Pōtiki, ngā mātua tīpuna”

Born in Gisborne, New Zealand, with tribal affiliations to Ngāti Pōrou (East Coast, North Island), and Ngāi Tahu (South Island), Judge Taumaunu completed primary and secondary school in Christchurch before joining the New Zealand Army as a Webb Class Regular Force Cadet in 1984. He then served as a Regular Force soldier and non-commissioned officer in the Royal New Zealand Signals Corp for four years.

Graduating from Victoria University of Wellington in 1993 with a Bachelor of Laws, Judge Taumaunu practised as a barrister and solicitor in the Gisborne region for 10 years prior to his appointment as a District Court Judge in January 2004. Judge Taumaunu is warranted to preside over jury, general and youth courts, is a resident Judge of the Auckland District Court, and regularly presides over Youth Courts in the Northern Region. Judge Taumaunu is the current Chair of the District Court Kaupapa Māori Advisory Group.

Judge Taumaunu is the current National Liaison Judge for Rangatahi Courts. In May 2008, Judge Taumaunu presided over the first sitting of a Rangatahi Court, at Te Poho-o-Rāwiri Marae in Gisborne. Since then, 14 other Rangatahi Courts have been established and are currently in operation throughout New Zealand. In 2016, Judge Taumaunu was awarded the Veillard-Cybulski Foundation Award for his pioneering work in leading the development of the Rangatahi Courts of New Zealand.

In June 2012, Judge Taumaunu was sworn in as a Judge of the Court Martial of New Zealand. In February 2018, Judge Taumaunu was appointed Deputy Judge Advocate General and Deputy Chief Judge of the Court Martial of New Zealand. In October 2019, Judge Taumaunu was appointed Chief Judge of the District Court of New Zealand.

Judge Taumaunu is married with three adult children.

His Honour Judge John Walker

Principal Youth Court Judge for New Zealand

Kaiwhakawa Matua o te Koti Taiohi

His Honour Judge Walker has been a District Court Judge since 1994 and is the Principal Youth Court Judge for New Zealand having been appointed to that position in July 2016.

In 1999, Judge Walker developed and promoted a Youth Court response to drug and alcohol dependant young persons, which led to the development of the Youth Drug Court Pilot for Christchurch. He was Presiding Judge in the Youth Drug Court for the first three years of its operation (2002 – 2005).

In 2002, he was engaged by the Chief Judge to develop District Court interventions for drug dependant adult offenders.  He led the development of a Community Court in Porirua (a city just north of Wellington) and leads the District Court’s development of responses to Family Violence. He is currently developing a Young Adult Court in Porirua for those aged 18 to 25.

In his spare time, Judge Walker enjoys pursuing his interests in restoration of classic cars, fly fishing, gardening, woodworking, blacksmithing, photography, and many other distractions.

Ms Melinda Walker

Co-Chair of the Executive Committee for the Criminal Law Section of the Law
Institute of Victoria

In 1991 while volunteering with the organization Violence Against Women and Their Children as a member of a delegation Melinda made submissions to the Victorian Community Council Against Violence on family violence, the systematic response to family violence and the inquiry into services for those effected by family violence.

She was the Project Officer for Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Project  in 1992-1995 while volunteering at Fitzroy Legal Service and in 1998 with others Melinda founded the Mirabel Foundation – an Australia wide charity which supports the children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental drug use or death.

In 2003 she opened her own practice in criminal law and attained Accredited Criminal Law Specialisation in 2014.  Since 2015 Melinda has been a member of the Victorian Chief Magistrates’ Family Violence Taskforce and appeared as a witness before the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. She is also a past member of the Law Council of Australia – Family and Domestic Violence Working Group.  In response to the events of Bourke Street Melbourne on the 20 January 2017 Melinda was appointed by the President of the Law Institute of Victoria to Chair the Institute’s Bail Review Taskforce to make submission to Justice Coghlan’s Bail Review. The same year she presented a paper to a Criminal Law Conference in Italy on ‘Youth Crime and Youth Justice Response of Government. The future of our youth and the deflection of systematic failure’.

In 2019 she has appeared before the Parliamentary Social and Legal Issues Committee inquiries into Spent Convictions, Firearms Prohibition Laws and Homelessness and the Legislative Council’s Inquiry into the impact of Animal Rights Activism on Victorian Agriculture.

She is the current Co-Chair of the Executive Committee for the Criminal Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria and a passionate advocate for youth law reform, human rights protection, prison and sentencing reform.

Judge Alan Mina Wharepouri

Principal Youth Court Judge for New Zealand, Chief District Court Judge’s Chambers, Wellington

Alan Mina Wharepouri was appointed a District Court Judge (then Acting) in June 2016 to exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction and with a warrant to conduct jury trials.  He received a youth court designation in August 2018.  Judge Wharepouri was the first Tongan-born Judge to be sworn-in in New Zealand.  Admitted in October 1995, he worked for Kensington Swan and then Russell McVeagh before working at Meredith Connell as a Crown Prosecutor from 2003 to 2011.  Judge Wharepouri was also admitted to the roll as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2002.  At Meredith Connell he regularly led both District and High Court jury trials, and became a barrister sole in 2012, until his appointment to the judiciary.  Judge Wharepouri holds a LLB (Hons) degree from the University of Auckland, and a LLM from Cambridge.

Superintendent Richard Watkins

Victoria Police

Richard joined Victoria Police in 1981 and has had a variety of roles including general duties, detective roles, internal investigations, policy and corporate roles.  In 2014 he moved to Eastern Division 1 (Inner East) as the Superintendent in charge of over 600 staff across the local government areas of Boroondara, Manningham, Whitehorse and Monash.  The Inner East of Melbourne is often referred to as the leafy east.  It has a high SEIFA score and the lowest crime rate of the 21 police divisions across Victoria.  The leafy safe image however is also home to some of the States most disadvantaged people; children living in Residential Care.

Ms Mary Woodward

Senior Advisor, Justice and Mental Health, Speech Pathology Australia

Mary Woodward is a speech pathologist with extensive experience in the forensic and psychiatric systems in England and Australia. She has worked in secure psychiatric hospitals, as a Registered Intermediary for the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales, and has been involved in youth justice and the courts in both a research and training capacity.  As well as maintaining a clinical caseload at the Concord Centre for Mental Health in Sydney, she is currently the Senior Advisor, Justice and Mental Health, for Speech Pathology Australia.

Judge Dina Yehia

NSW District Court

Judge Yehia SC graduated with a Bachelor of Arts & Law from the University of NSW and subsequently completed a Masters in International Criminal Law from Sydney University.

Judge Yehia SC was admitted as a solicitor in 1989 and worked with the Western Aboriginal Legal Service from December 1989 until September 1996. In that capacity, her Honour appeared for thousands of Aboriginal people in towns such as Bourke, Brewarrina, Wilcannia and Broken Hill.

Her Honour worked as a Solicitor Advocate with the Legal Aid Commission and was called to the Bar in 1999. She was then appointed a Public Defender. Her Honour took silk in 2009 and became the first female Deputy Senior Public Defender in 2013. Her practice in the Supreme Court included murder trials and the year long Terrorism trial at Parramatta in 2009.

In 2013 Her Honour appeared as lead counsel in the High Court case of The Queen v Bugmy and in the Special Leave application in Honeysett. She was appointed a Judge of the District Court in May 2014.

Her Honour was appointed as a District Court Judge in May 2014. She is the Chairperson of the Walama Court Working Group, which has been working to establish an Indigenous sentencing court as part of the NSW District Court. She is also the Chairperson of Diverse Women In Law, an Organisation which has been formed to mentor women of diverse backgrounds in the profession.

She is a Council member of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration and the National Judicial College of Australia.

Mr Andrew Yule

General Manager Strategic Communication and Engagement, Jesuit Social Services 

Andrew is General Manager Strategic Communication and Engagement for Jesuit Social Services and has more than 16 years’ experience working for social change organisations. Andrew is passionate about connecting the lived experience of vulnerable and marginalised Australians with sound policy and research to advocate for long term change. Andrew has taken a senior role in campaigns to improve youth justice, adult justice, child protection, mental health services and affordable housing. Most recently, Andrew has managed a multifaceted campaign (#WorthASecondChance) to shift the public narrative around youth justice in Victoria and build a groundswell of support for evidence-based and effective approaches to help children and young people get their lives back on track.

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