National Strategy Advisory Group Biographies
- Membership list
Read the biographies of members and special advisors of the National Strategy Advisory Group.
National Strategy Advisory Group members
Rebekah Kilpatrick PSM
Head of the National Office for Child Safety
Rebekah Kilpatrick grew up on Kaurna Country in South Australia and now resides on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra where she is the Head of the National Office for Child Safety (National Office). Rebekah leads a team dedicated to the delivery of national reforms aimed at promoting children’s wellbeing and protecting children from harm, with a particular focus on child sexual abuse.
Rebekah has worked with the National Office since it was established in July 2018 as a result of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Rebekah has significant Commonwealth public policy experience across a range of agencies including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Attorney-General’s Department. Her professional experience has in large part focused on protecting our most vulnerable – including work on issues such as children’s policy, human rights policy, and human trafficking, slavery and forced marriage policy and legislation. Rebekah also has experience in law enforcement and national security policy and legislation.
Hetty Johnston AM GAICD
Founder of Bravehearts; Child protection and safeguarding specialist
Hetty Johnston founded Bravehearts Foundation Ltd in 1997 after the sexual assault of her then young daughter and is now one of Australia’s leading advocates and consultants on child protection and sexual assault.
In 2015, Hetty was recognised as Queensland’s Australian of the Year, in 2014 she was appointed with the Order of Australia, in 2016 she was appointed to the Australian Businesswomen’s ‘Hall of Fame’, and in both 2003 and 2004 she was awarded Australian Lawyers Alliance Civil Justice Awards.
Hetty is a highly experienced and nationally respected social enterprise entrepreneur, safeguarding consultant and speaker. With a strong business background she has been an advocate for the environment, small businesses and worked in politics before focusing on child protection.
Hetty’s courage and determination have helped bring about the cultural shift currently taking place in how Australia responds to child sexual assault.
Doctoral Candidate in Law; advocate for victims and survivors in sports
For Alison Quigley, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse played a pivotal role in her life, encouraging her to come forward to report a gymnastics coach for sex offences committed against her when she was a child in the sport.
Thanks to the Victorian SANO taskforce, the team secured a conviction in 2017, and these days Alison is a doctoral candidate in law studying child-safe policies in Australian gymnastics. Her goal in the doctorate is to evaluate child-safe policies to arrive at a best practice model, one to offer the next generation of child athletes a safer future in sport.
She is also president of Owls for Justice Inc., an accountability agency that keeps an eye on the progress of Royal Commission recommendations, and a director of Athlete Rights Australia an athlete advocacy, education and support organisation.
She rallies for organisational change in sporting bodies, with a focus on transparency, accountability, redress and the power of voice in enacting reforms.
Advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse
Amanda is a proud Yorta Yorta woman raised on Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr land and now living on Dharug Land. Amanda is a trauma-informed victim-survivor advocate, a 2022 Churchill Fellow, an accredited Lifeline Crisis Supporter, community organiser, speaker, and writer.
Amanda’s studies at Macquarie University focused on Developmental and Applied Child and Adolescent Psychology, Psychopathology, Discrimination Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Amanda is the Founder of Make A Seat Australia, a culturally-safe, trauma-informed media engagement platform for survivors.
Former Commissioner to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
Bob commenced public service with the Queensland Police Service in 1968, serving as Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service for 12 years from 2000 until his retirement in October 2012.
In a 44-year career with the Queensland Police Service, Bob served throughout Queensland from Goondiwindi to Cairns. Bob oversaw reforms after the Fitzgerald inquiry from 1990 as well as the recommendations of the Public Sector Management Commission review of the Queensland Police Service in 1993.
Following his retirement from the Queensland Police Service, Bob was appointed as a Commissioner of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Bob served as one of the six Royal Commissioners during the five year inquiry from 2013 to 2017.
In 2018, Bob was appointed as the Chair, Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce.
In 2019, Bob was appointed as Co-Chair of the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council.
In 2023, Bob was appointed as Assistant Commissioner to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
Bob's lifelong dedication to public service was recognised through a Queensland Great Award in 2019.
Bruce Morcombe OAM and Denise Morcombe OAM
Founders - The Daniel Morcombe Foundation
Denise and Bruce Morcombe established The Daniel Morcombe Foundation as a lasting legacy to their son, in 2005. They are committed to educating children on how to stay safe in a physical and online environment and supporting young victims of crime. As passionate advocates for children’s rights, Denise and Bruce continue to push for national consistency in language used and making child safety education material freely available to all Australian children and young people. They are strong advocates for all children and young people, especially those who are victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. Among their achievements are:
- Queensland Child Safety Ambassadors – 2011 to date
- Production and distribution of free child safety resources – 2006 to date
- Creation of Day for Daniel – Australia’s largest child safety education and awareness day – 2005 to date
- Creation of Australia’s Biggest Child Safety Lesson – 2017 to date
- Commitment to the early intervention of children displaying harmful sexual behaviour through the Changing Futures and Bright Futures projects
- Working group member of The Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum
- Support of hundreds of child victims of crime
Since 2020, Bruce has been a Board Member of the Child Death Review.
Chief Executive Officer - SNAICC – National Voice for our Children
An Arrernte/Luritja woman from Central Australia, Catherine has been a leading advocate in upholding the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on a national, regional and local level. Catherine has held senior management positions in First Nations organisations including First Nations Media and Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships, as well as within the Northern Territory Education Department, the ABC and NITV/SBS.
A journalist by trade, Catherine’s motivation has always been to drive change that leads to positive outcomes and options for First Nations people. Over the past 10 years she has led multidisciplinary teams, overseen workplace transformations, and advocated for policy reform.
Catherine is the CEO for SNAICC - National Voice for our Children, the national non-governmental peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children that works for the fulfilment of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, in particular to ensure their safety, development and wellbeing.
Clinical Director - SafeCare Inc
Christabel Chamarette is a registered Clinical Psychologist with 50 years’ experience in the treatment of violence and child sexual abuse.
She was Clinical Director of SafeCare Inc from 1997 – 2008 which provided treatment for all family members where child sexual abuse was a concern.
Since 2009, in addition to her Clinical Psychology private practice, Christabel provides supervision for allied health professionals, a referral and treatment service for men seeking the SafeCare offender treatment program or charged with child exploitation material offences.
She is a founding member of the Australian Psychological Society Interest Group in child sexual abuse and psychology and the Australian Training Institute for Child Sexual Abuse Treatment (ATICSAT) running training programs for professionals in the area of child sexual offender treatment from 2018 – 2022.
In the MakeAChangeProject in the Kimberley he assists Aboriginal community members to learn about the healing of childhood adversity and problems of drug addiction, domestic violence and suicide.
Chief Executive Officer - The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
Deb Tsorbaris is the CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. The Centre is Victoria’s peak body for child and family services. Deb is a passionate advocate for Victoria’s vulnerable children, young people and families.
Deb has over 32 years’ experience in the not‑for‑profit and public sector and has held executive positions in organisations working across youth services, disability, homelessness, drug and alcohol support services; and employment programs. Prior to joining the Centre, Deb held senior executive positions in state government.
Deb provides policy leadership to state and federal governments and is a strong contributor to the child and family services sector. Deb has been instrumental in working collaboratively across department, government and community sectors to address long term strategic needs and community objectives.
Deb co-chairs the Roadmap Implementation Ministerial Advisory Group and its Implementation Steering Group and currently sits on the Victorian Children’s Council.
Chief Executive Officer - Laurel House
Kathryn Fordyce is an experienced executive leader and non‑executive director with demonstrated expertise in the for‑purpose disability, health, early childhood and sexual violence sectors. Kathryn is currently the CEO of Laurel House, a specialist sexual assault service in Northern Tasmania.
Before joining Laurel House, Kathryn had worked within the disability sector with a particular focus on support for autistic people. Kathryn holds qualifications in speech pathology, early childhood education and care, health services management, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Kathryn has co-authored peer reviewed papers on autism, early intervention and evidence-based practice. Kathryn is on the board of National Association of Services against Sexual Violence, Speech Pathology Australia, Playgroup Australia, Playgroup Tasmania, and Providers of Sexual Assault Care. Kathryn is also actively involved in other committees that focus on the health and wellbeing of children and young people, and the inclusion of people with disabilities.
In 2023, Kathryn was inducted onto the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women, and in 2024 was a Tasmanian Australian of the Year nominee.
Professor Leah Bromfield
Director - Australian Centre for Child Protection, UniSA
Professor Leah Bromfield is an internationally-recognised and award-winning researcher and leader in the field of child abuse and neglect and child sexual abuse.
She has held a range of leading positions, which have driven new approaches across the field. These include as the current Director for the Australian Centre for Child Protection, where she has spearheaded the application of contemporary evidence, research and a public health approach to lead major reforms and address the epidemic of child abuse and neglect and child sexual abuse, and as Professorial Fellow to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, where she established and oversaw the delivery of the Royal Commission’s significant and highly regarded research agenda.
In 2021, she was appointed Commissioner for the Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings.
In 2023, Leah was appointed Director and Chair of the South Australian Child Protection Expert Group.
Dr Leanne Beagley
Chief Executive Officer - National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse
Dr Leanne Beagley is the Chief Executive Officer of the independent National Centre for Action on Child Sexual Abuse, which seeks to be a vehicle for action for many victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. Its formation recognises the decades of advocacy by victims and survivors to be listened to, believed, validated, protected and ultimately supported to heal from the trauma they carry with them. Its focus extends beyond institutional child sexual abuse to abuse that occurs in the family, community and online.
The National Centre was established by three like-minded founding organisations – Australian Childhood Foundation, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation and Blue Knot Foundation. The National Centre was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Leanne brings extensive clinical, leadership and legal qualifications and experiences, holding executive roles within the Department of Health, Victoria, the Western Victoria Primary Health Network and as Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Australia.
Chief Executive Officer - Phoenix Support and Advocacy Service Inc
Louise currently leads Phoenix Support and Advocacy Service supporting survivors. In the early ‘90s Louise worked as counsellor, clinical supervisor, and coordinator in Australia’s first co-located domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse service. As a founding member and convenor of the peak body Domestic Violence Action Groups of WA she successfully lobbied Government on social justice reforms, legislative and policy change, and funding for counselling and support services.
Louise was a key advisor for the “Freedom from Fear” media campaign. Louise has developed Best Practice Guides, Policy, Screening and Operational Frameworks for a range of services and has trained the Judiciary along with other allied professionals. She has held senior positions within the not-for-profit community services sector, and with State and Federal Government in Perth, Bunbury, and Canberra. Louise considers her varied life experiences to be her greatest teacher and feels privileged to contribute what she has learnt. She believes creating compassionate communities is the way forward.
Louise is a member of the WACOSS Children’s Policy Advisory Council, the Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing Sexual Violence Expert Advisory Group, and the WA Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Strategy Reference Group.
Chief Executive Officer - Ethnic Communities’ Council NSW
As Chief Executive Officer of the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW, a state‑wide peak body representing culturally and linguistically diverse communities, Mary leads a team that delivers programs funded by state and Commonwealth aimed at building the capacity of culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse communities. This includes programs and projects in DV prevention, working with men elder abuse campaigns, and parent forums on consent education. Mary has extensive experience in consultations with culturally, linguistically, and spiritually and religiously diverse groups as they pertain to domestic and family violence, technologically based education for refugee men and women, aged care and disability, racism and discrimination, and women’s safety, and is a passionate advocate of equitable access to services and supports for vulnerable people.
Mary sits on numerous boards and advisory bodies including being a member of the Minister’s NSW Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council, the NSW Department of Communities and Justice Multicultural Advisory Committee and an affiliate member of Sydney Institute for Women Children and their Families. Mary participated in the national conversation for the 2021 National Summit on Women’s Safety and contributed towards the next National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children, and development of a NSW Framework to prevent, identify and respond to children and young people presenting with problematic and harmful sexual behaviours.
As a state-wide peak body representative, Mary has contributed to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and submitted to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Coercive Control. Mary is currently working with the state-wide Services Child Wellbeing Unit on developing Agreed Principles for working with culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse children, young people and families.
Chief Executive Officer - Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion
Matilda has been a leader and human rights lawyer nearly 20 years including at Prisoners’ Legal Service and LGBTI Legal Service.
She teaches Prison Law at Griffith University and has previously worked at the Queensland Human Rights Commission and been a Principal Lawyer at Legal Aid Queensland.
She won multiple awards for her work with vulnerable communities and holds an enduring passion for justice.
She is currently the Patron of the LGBTI Legal Service and CEO of Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion.
Director of Therapy Services - Act for Kids
Miranda holds Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Psychology. While residing in the USA, New Zealand and Australia, Miranda has worked as a clinician, educator, and advocate for over 25 years. She has specialised in the areas of interpersonal violence and trauma throughout her career. This focus has led to opportunities to design and apply interventions across varied geographical and societal contexts. While in New Zealand Miranda was accredited by NZ Family Court, for direct service provision to men using domestic violence in relationships, and their aggrieved partners. Since immigrating to Australia, she has focused specifically on the impact of abuse and trauma on children.
Her current role as Act for Kids Director of Therapy & Education Services includes responsibility and oversight of best practice across Act for Kids therapeutic services, and early education programmes. Therapeutic services under her purview include: Allied Health Integrated Therapy, Infant Mental Health, Trauma, Youth Sexual Violence (HSB) and Sexual Abuse counselling programmes. Miranda leads these services with a consistent and evidence informed approach to working with children, young people and their families. She has presented on a range of topics at professional conferences and webinars.
She is the current Chair of the Queensland Harmful Sexual Behaviour Treatment Network. She maintains professional membership with the Australian Counselling Association, and the Australia New Zealand Association for Treatment of Sexual Abuse (ANZATSA).
Professor Patrick O’Leary
Chair of the Clinical Advisory Committee, Survivors & Mates Support Network (SAMSN); Co-Lead of the Disrupting Violence Beacon, Griffith University
Patrick O’Leary has worked in the area of gendered violence as social worker and now as a researcher for over 25 years. Since 2004, Patrick has held numerous senior posts at universities in Australia and the United Kingdom. He has worked internationally and domestically on domestic violence and child protection issues.
Patrick was commissioned as an Expert Academic Advisor to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and has served as a Senior Research Fellow with UNICEF’s Office for Research. Most recently he was a member of the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce examining coercive control and women’s experience of the justice system in relation to sexual violence as well as women’s experience as offenders.
At Griffith University he has been the academic lead for the Violence Research and Prevention Program (VRPP) and MATE Bystander Project. Currently he is Co-Leader of the Disrupting Violence Beacon at Griffith University and is the Chair of the Clinical Advisory Committee for Survivors & Mates Support Network (SAMSN) a lead national organisation supporting male survivors of child sexual abuse. Patrick’s work is internationally recognised and his work is widely cited in high quality journals. He is the Co-Editor of International Social Work since 2018.
Child safeguarding specialist
Phil Doorgachurn is a child safeguarding specialist.
Phil previously led Y Safeguarding, the Y (formerly YMCA of Australia)’s national safeguarding charity which aims to empower all children and young people to feel safe and be safe at the Y, in their families and in their communities. Phil has led this team for the past three years and has a strong focus on innovative safeguarding prevention methods that keep children and young people safe.
Phil has significant international safeguarding experience across a range of sectors. Phil is the former Head of Safeguarding for Arsenal FC and British Tennis in the UK, as well as the Safeguarding Training Lead for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Phil also led the UK’s largest children’s charity, the NSPCC’s training team.
Phil now sits on the Board of Safe Sport International and LimeCulture, two of the world’s leading safeguarding organisations.
Youth Ambassador and survivor advocate
As Youth Ambassador and Advisor for Children and Young People, Shelley has spent the last 13 years across multiple government and non-government organisations advocating with, and on behalf of children and young people in the out of home care system in both local and federal spaces. She is passionate about advocating for needed systemic changes to better and benefit the care system for children and young people, such as young people participating in policy making and decision making, record keeping, family finding and the discontinued practice of stigmatised language.
In 2014 Shelley received the ACT Personal Achievement Award. Shelley is a current Social Work student at The Australian Catholic University.
Chief Executive Officer - Children and Young People with Disability Australia
Skye Kakoschke-Moore is the Chief Executive Officer of Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA), the national representative organisation for children and young people with disability aged 0-25 years. Skye has experience co-designing and implementing capacity building projects with people with disability, with a focus on youth leadership initiatives.
Previously Skye has worked in politics, including as a Senator for South Australia in the 45th Parliament where she championed a number of reforms aimed at providing greater protection for children against online child sexual abuse. This included introducing and passing Carly’s Law, which criminalises the use of a carriage service by adults when planning to harm a child, as well as introducing increased penalties relating to the livestreaming of child sexual abuse.
Sonya Ryan AOM
Founder and Chief Executive Officer - The Carly Ryan Foundation
Carly Ryan was 15-years-old when she was murdered by an online predator.
It was the first crime of its type in Australia, occurring in 2007 when social media was a new phenomenon and paedophiles were really starting to infiltrate the online space. Determined to help prevent harm to other innocent children and to help them navigate their online journey safely, Carly's mum Sonya, shared her lived experience and incorporated The Carly Ryan Foundation (CRF) in 2010 creating an extraordinary legacy.
The Carly Ryan Foundation is now expanded into the United States and will continue efforts to introduce Carly’s Law there whilst sharing valuable resources and crime prevention initiatives to benefit US citizens and children. This crime type is borderless, offenders can easily access their victims from anywhere in the world, exploiting them under a veil of privacy and anonymity. Sonya has led efforts for over a decade in Australia to make her home country one of the toughest on online crime and harms and now an international leader in crime prevention.
Sonya's lived experience of extreme suffering demonstrates the strength of a mother's love connection with her daughter - the unparalleled power of love.
National Children’s Commissioner
Anne Hollonds is Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner. Formerly Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, for 23 years Anne was Chief Executive of government and non‑government organisations focused on research, policy and practice in child and family wellbeing. National Strategy Advisory Group Biographies
As a psychologist Anne has worked extensively in frontline practice, including child protection, domestic and family violence, mental health, child and family counselling, parenting education, family law counselling, and community development.
Anne currently contributes to several expert advisory groups, including the Family Law Council, Australian Child Maltreatment Study, NSW Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council, National Plan Advisory Group (NPAG), and Australian National Child Health and Development Atlas Oversight Group.