2024 Safe & Together™ Model Asia Pacific Conference

VIRTUAL ATTENDEES

Virtual attendees will receive access information directly from the following email address: SafeTogetherAPConference-11368-1708657959@ineventmail.com

The email will include a personalized link that will direct attendees onto the platform. While this link grants attendees access, kindly note – the event can only be viewed from one device/window/tab at a time. Once on the platform, to join a session, please select the session from the Activities listed in the Virtual Lobby, or from the My Agenda page in the menu. While in a session, attendees will be able to interact with others in the session via the interaction tabs on the right of the screen or, if on a mobile device, in the bottom menu. If you experience an issue with the event link or have issues accessing the platform, kindly email: 

digitalevents@mcec.com.au and comollo@mcec.com.au

NEW: Now In Person and Fully Streaming ALL 3 DAYS!
You can attend both the Masterclasses & Conference online

 

Empower Your Practice: Join the Global Community at the Safe & Together Model 2024 Asia Pacific Conference on March 13-15, 2024!

Turn Commitment into Action

 
A Global Gathering for Change Makers
Professionals from around the world are coming together for an intensive 3-day journey into the heart of the Safe & Together Model. Connect with international experts, frontline practitioners, and policy-makers dedicated to ending family violence.
 
Why Attend?
  • Hands-On Learning: Engage in practical, scenario-based workshops that will sharpen your skills and deepen your understanding of how to support families affected by domestic violence.
  • Expert Insights: Hear from leaders in the field as they share cutting-edge research, policy developments, and inspiring success stories from across the globe.
  • Networking Opportunities: Build lasting connections with professionals across disciplines in a collaborative environment dedicated to systemic change.
  • Resource-Rich Environment: Access a wealth of materials and tools that can transform your practice and enhance collaborative responses to domestic violence.

**Recordings will be available to all registrants for on-demand viewing for six months following the live conference**

REGISTRATION LINKSFULL PRICE
Conference Only Virtual Attendance (Thursday + Friday)770AUD
Conference (Thursday + Friday)
& Pre-Conference Masterclass (Wednesday)
990AUD
Conference Only (Thursday + Friday)770AUD
Pre-Conference Masterclass ONLY (Wednesday) 400AUD
NEW: Virtual Streaming Option: Pre-conference Only400AUD
NEW: Virtual Streaming Option: 3-day conference (Masterclasses + 2 Day Conference)
990AUD
All pricing includes GST.

We apologize for any omissions in the PDF program due to event deadlines.

Take advantage of our special group rates to register individuals and groups here.
Purchase five registrations, and get the 6th FREE here.

Need justification for attending? We’ve got you covered here.

Who Should Attend?

  • Social Workers
  • Child Protection Professionals
  • Domestic Violence Advocates
  • Legal Professionals
  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Mental Health Practitioners
  • Policy Makers
  • Researchers
  • Educators
  • Healthcare Providers


The Safe & Together Model in the First Nations Context

Jackie Wruck – Asia Pacific Regional Manager, Safe & Together

This workshop will explore how the Safe & Together Model can support practice approaches with First Nations families in a more culturally sensitive way that incorporates the Aboriginal worldviews of being, doing, seeing, and knowing. This workshop will highlight and acknowledge the complexities of working with First Nations families affected by colonisation and domestic and family violence. 


Stop Blaming Mothers and Ignoring Fathers
A Deep Dive Into the Paradigm Shift Behind the Safe & Together Model

David Mandel – CEO, Safe & Together

In his latest book, the Safe & Together Model revolutionizes responses to domestic violence. Author David Mandel debunks six professional myths hindering effective practices and systems. He emphasizes addressing gender double standards in parenting for meaningful system changes. This workshop will include practice exercises that will help Certified Trainers deepen their application of the Model in training and their own practice. 


An Introduction to the Safe & Together Model

Hayley Tuttle

In this masterclass, participants will be introduced to the Principles, Critical Components, and other key aspects of the paradigm-shifting Safe & Together Model. Participants will learn how the Model’s concepts, skills and tools can transform individual practice, agencies culture and systems, and cross-sector collaboration. Learn about partnering with survivors, keeping children safe and intervening with perpetrators as parents. Participants are guaranteed to leave the session with new practices they can implement immediately. 

The “Myth of the Child Witness”: How professionals can align their practice with children’s experience of domestic violence.

David Mandel
The discussion of domestic violence and children has been dominated by the concepts of the “child witness to violence” or “children exposed to violence.” While reflecting a critical pathway to harm from domestic violence perpetrators’ behaviors– seeing and hearing violence–it is an incomplete framework for fully and truly hearing the voice of the child and holding perpetrators accountable as parents. In this keynote, David Mandel will critique current assessment practices related to children and domestic violence and offer practical, solution-driven changes to bring domestic violence policy and practice more in alignment with child survivors’ lived experiences. 


Stop Blaming Mothers and Ignoring Fathers: Tackling gender expectations to create real change

David Mandel

Early in the twenty-first century, we still have strongly differing ideas about the behaviors associated with mothering and fathering. And these differences have consequences for how our systems respond to domestic violence where children are present. In this keynote, David Mandel will explore how true transformation in how systems protect children from domestic violence requires a radical change in what we expect from mothers and fathers. In this presentation, he will explore how fathers’ relationship to family functioning is minimized or ignored. He’ll discuss how empathy often fails as a strategy for improving practice with mothers who are domestic violence survivors. David will talk about how higher standards for fathers and more holistic assessments of mothers’ protective efforts, i.e., giving mothers more formal credit for what they do, is the key to better outcomes across child protection, family court, and other systems.


A Fresh Breath: A day in the life of a woman you know

Nneka MacGregor

We know that the most common forms of physical violence against women survivors are hits to the head, face, and neck, including strangulation. What is less known is that a significant number of survivors who have experienced these forms of violence are likely also living with a brain injury as a result. In her keynote, Nneka MacGregor will address the intersection of interpersonal violence and traumatic brain injuries. By looking at a day in the life of a survivor, Ms. MacGregor will surface the complex and layered realities for women living with gender-based violence-inflicted traumatic brain injuries as they try to find safety and support while navigating systems and help frontline workers get a deeper understanding of these realities and provide strategies to support survivors at that intersection better.

Plenary Panel: First Nation Practitioners & the Safe & Together Model

Jackie Wruck, Marlene Lauw & Berna Thurgate

In this panel discussion, First Nation practitioners will share their experience using the Safe & Together Model in the context of community. The panel will explore the intersection of the Model and cultural safety and offer examples of how the Model’s holistic and “whole of the family” approach has worked in First Nations contexts. The panel will also consider First Nation ways of knowing, doing, and being, which can help the Model be best applied to the context of community and colonization.


Using the Safe & Together Model to Support the Rights of the Child in Domestic Violence Cases

David Mandel – CEO, Safe & Together Institute

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) outlines how children have the right to express their opinions in matters that relate to them. It says that the government should ensure the “views of the child (are) being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child… the child shall, in particular, be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body…” This has particular relevance to cases involving domestic violence in child protection and family law courts. These decisions can have wide and far-reaching implications for children’s relationships with their parents, siblings, and kin. Decisions made by these systems often also have profound implications for child safety and well-being. In this workshop, David Mandel will outline how the Safe & Together Model offers a consistent child-centered framework that supports children’s needs being heard and considered at every point in government decision-making related to children.


Seven research projects with Safe & Together 2015-24: What have we learned about addressing child safety?

Cathy Humphreys – University of Melbourne, Margaret Kertesz – Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne, Cherie Toivonen – Managing Director, CLT Byron Consulting and Marlene Lauw – Statewide Senior Educator, Aboriginal Programs, NSW Health, Education Centre Against Violence, Michele Robinson – Director, Evidence to Action, ANROWS and David Mandel – CEO, Safe & Together Institute

In this presentation, we review nearly a decade of research collaboration between the Safe & Together Institute and a research team at the University of Melbourne. We ask ourselves: What has been learned? Since 2015, seven projects have explored the application of the Safe & Together Model to Australian practice, aiming to mitigate the risks posed to children and their mothers by people (mostly partners or fathers) using violence or coercive control. These projects have focussed on the interface between child protection and specialist DFV services, working with fathers who use violence, the intersection between a person’s use of violence and parental AOD use or poor mental health, and attention to children. They have had an impact on direct practice, policy, and service system alignment and the development of the Safe & Together Model itself.

The workshop will begin with some reflections by Professor Cathy Humphreys on the collaboration and the research over the last decade. This will be followed by an overview of the seven projects and the key learning from each. A panel discussion will explore the impacts of these projects from the perspectives of the Safe & Together Institute, the research team, Aboriginal trainers, and a key contractor of the research. The panel, facilitated by Margaret Kertesz, will conclude the presentation with questions taken from the audience.


Improving the family law system response to domestic and family violence

Janet Carmichael – Executive Director, Court Children’s Service Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, Jennifer Crawley – Senior Judicial Registrar and Director – National Registrar Operations, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, and Hayley Foster – Director, Family Violence / Director, Access, Equity and Inclusion, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

Since 2021, a raft of world-first initiatives have been introduced by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) to improve both the Courts’ and the broader family law system’s response to family violence and other forms of risk. These initiatives include confidential screening and triaging on application, enhanced support service referral, the introduction of specialist lists, enhanced information sharing with child protection authorities and police. Concurrent with the rollout of these initiatives, the FCFCOA has undertaken an ongoing and widespread program in which judges, registrars and social science staff have been comprehensively trained in the Safe & Together Model, with senior court staff working closely with the model’s founder, David Mandel, in the application of the model to the family law context. This workshop will provide an overview of these initiatives and outline how the model has been systemically integrated into the way that the Courts manage family law cases. The presenters will also give examples of how the initiatives and training undertaken by the Court are having a positive ripple effect across the broader family law system.


The Safe & Together Model in action: Building a shared understanding of Substance Use Coercion

Emma Shaw – Acting Manager Child and Family Services, Tania Milburn – AOD Specialist Family Violence Advisor and Alannah Cavalieri – AOD Family Violence Advisor, Odyssey House Victoria

Odyssey House Victoria (OHV) provides alcohol and other drug treatment across metropolitan and regional areas of Victoria. OHV’s work intersects with multiple sectors, including family violence, mental health, child protection, justice, housing and disability. Over the past 5 years OHV has been on a journey of embedding both the statewide MARAM framework reforms, as well as the Safe & Together Model, into building a Family Violence proficient practice across the organisation.

A key part of this journey has been developing an approach and accompanying language for Alcohol and other Drug clinicians to use, in order to unpack, map and better document the tactics and realities of substance use coercion. Substance use coercion is defined as “coercive tactics where a person using violence leverages their own or their partners AOD use, which forms part of a broader pattern of abuse[1].” These tactics have been articulated by Victim Survivors for many years, but have only recently emerged in in a burgeoning evidence and practice base.

We will be sharing how OHV has utilized the Safe & Together Perpetrator Mapping Tool and the Intersections Approach exploring how perpetrators Cause, Exacerbate, Interfere, Weaponize & Fabricate

Victim Survivor’s substance use. This conversation supports the development of both a practical & shared language – a language that can visiblise and advocate effectively across sectors, to better reflect the complexities at the intersection of AOD and family violence. And in doing so, strive to be better equipped to respond to substance use coercion, resist collusion with persons using violence and to truly partner with victim/ survivors.


Children have a voice! (Keeping Father’s accountable and in the therapy room)

Fiona Brown – Team Leader Child and Youth Counselling, Community Action Gympie

The child and Youth counselling team at Gympie Regional DFV service have implemented the Safe & Together model when working with Mother’s/Carers and their children. The five Critical Components are the basis for partnering with Mother’s to gather information from about their earliest experiences with PUV from dating to how the behaviours impacted her and the children.

By using the S&T questions about the PUV’s behaviour, we explore how the children have experienced being fathered and how the PUV’s behaviour has impacted the family functioning and each child’s functioning. The first step of counselling is for the children to feel safe and secure. Although all the counsellors are experts at connecting with children. Once a bond and relationship is established the child is able to lead the sessions and may choose to share their experiences or process their emotions through art, sand tray, play, clay, role playing, movement or just having space to lie down.

The PUV is brought into the room when the timing is right for the child and they are fully supported to share their perspective of their experience with the PUV.


The Caboolture Prison Release Taskforce (PRT): An Integrated Service Response developing “Interruption Plans” while working with incarcerated perpetrators of domestic and family violence

Carolyn Cochrane – Domestic Violence System Coordination Facilitator, DVSC Mercy, Metta Trousdell – Program Officer (Walking with Dads) Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services and Angela Pritchard – DFV Coordination Lead, Mercy Community

The PRT intentionally and actively addresses the Caboolture integrated service responses and human well-being simultaneously. Creating change and shifts can be challenging within a siloed system with each agency at times having differing goals, limitations, varied financial resources and legislated jurisdictions. In this session we will learn about the forming of a collaboration using the Safe & Together Model as the foundation and shared language for a community of practice (CoP) to address these challenges for perpetrator accountability.

The collaboration utilised an Information Session from David Mandel on the Safe & Together Framework, and the learnings from Rodney Vlais a leader on Behaviour Change and DFV in Australia who provided consultations on the project. The PRT group developed an Interruption Plan that can assist the management and monitoring of perpetrators being released from prison, assist assessing risk to survivors and family members (children), to promote, record and evidence behaviour change.

The session will review the development of the Interruption Plan and show how the Safe & Together framework was used to solidify collaboration with a focus on:

• What is vital for collaborative coordinated multi-agency practice for perpetrator accountability and intervention

• Working with Men as Parents: Fathers’ Parenting Choices Matter

The session will cover how the group utilised the multiple pathways to harm approach, the choose to change network, survivor-led work and the focus on good outcomes for survivors. It will also demonstrate how the group were able to work within the current legislation for Information Sharing.

The session will demonstrate how the principles inform the Plan and seek consent as a two-way process to support partnering with the survivor and for practitioner’s to work on both internal and external motivations for change and set goals for perpetrator accountability. Finally, it will discuss the successes, the challenges, and highlight future recommendations.


Mapping coercive control through an intersectionality approach

Jolene Ellat – CEO, DART Institute Inc.

Many factors combine to form an individual’s identity and experience. Intersectionality can be defined as different aspects of a person’s identity that can expose [that person] to overlapping forms of discrimination and marginalisation. These aspects can include gender, class, ethnicity and cultural background, religion, disability and sexual orientation. It is critical that family violence service providers and agencies adopt an intersectional approach. In the context of family violence, this means that services need to identify how the factors noted above can be associated with different sources of oppression and discrimination, and how those intersections can lead to increased risk, severity, and frequency of experiencing different forms of violence. Practitioners should appreciate the role that multiple sources of identity play in a person’s lived experiences, and be accessible, inclusive, non-discriminatory, and responsive to the needs of diverse groups. Join DART Institute on a transformative workshop here we dive into intersectional layers, how perpetrators weaponise these layers and how they become barriers for survivors in seeking supports.


“He is an abusive partner, but he is a good dad”

Mark O’Hare – Operations Manager and Colleen West – Business Manager, Stopping Family Violence

This workshop will discuss the systems responsibility to not only challenge the common statement “He is an abusive partner, but he is a good dad” but to also take an active part in lifting the parental expectations of fathers.


Where did we go so wrong?

Jen Korn – Program Manager, Act for Kids, Rockhampton

They were invisible… they were just another family….. until they weren’t”. I have told this story on so many occasions. The family has provided consent. This is their story that they have entrusted me with.

*This is the story of a Mum who was brutally murdered in an act of Domestic and Family Violence. Her two young daughters witnessed the murder while their brother was at home wondering how long it would be until he heard the news that his father had taken his own life.

*The immediate impact for the family? A family that had just been torn a part now needed to come together but in a different form. Grandparents who lived in a different town and who had just retired…. Suddenly became full time carers. An Uncle who had a home, partner and career had to give it all up to move into a home with his aging parents and his nieces and nephew.

*The uncovering of a secret life of Domestic and Family Violence. As more information came out from the court case, police reports, people talking…. a new grim story was discovered.

*Where are they 3 years on? A Legacy has been built and will continue to grow. A new secure housing unit has been named in Karen’s honour. Books have been published and donated, events have been attended and a family has mourned and grieved and finally come together.

*What has changed in our sector? Honestly, not much from an agency point of view. Created a fierce advocate that will continue to say “I hope that no other family has to go through this”.


Applying the Safe & Together Model: Putting children & young people at the forefront of practice while reducing risk & trauma and rising up out of a vortex of destructive practice

Emma Rogers – DFV Principal Project Officer, Seniors and Disability Services and Megan Duffy – Senior Team Leader, Department of Child Safety, QLD Department of Child Safety

In Queensland, the amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999 implemented in 2023 were to reinforce the children’s rights and strengthen their voice in decision-making. How does this translate into practice when a child or young person is living with DFV perpetrated by their father? We will present a deidentified case that demonstrates this. We will explore our shift from destructive practice to proficient DFV practice by applying the Safe & Together Model, to support a reunification of a child from residential care back with their mother. We will present in detail how practice spiraled down into a vortex of oppressive practice and led to the child being removed and placed in residential care for a long period of time, and by applying the Safe & Together Model we rose out of the vortex with a comprehensive understanding of risk, trauma and safety. The adult and child survivors’ views and wishes were heard and acted on. We will discuss the importance of whole-sector action and shared responsibility for needless removals and the necessity of multiagency work in reducing the risk for children and supporting children to be safe and together with their mothers.


The benefits of collaboration – using your network

Clare Brady – Practice Consultant FDV Services, Anglicare WA, Simone Ruscuklic – Family Services Practice & Performance Lead, Anglicare Victoria, and Lynda Dunstan – Family and Domestic Violence Advisor, Anglicare Sydney

As a result of the 2023 conference in Melbourne, networks were made between Anglicare WA, Anglicare Victoria, Anglicare Sydney and Anglicare South Queensland. The practice leads in these organisations met online following the conference and identified the benefits in supporting each other through the implementation and embedding of the model, with tips on training and sharing resources. We identified that we were all doing similar things in our respective organisations, reviewing and updating policies and procedures and writing frameworks and we should pool resources to share information to prevent us all from ‘reinventing the wheel’ as well as build a supportive network to help smooth the road of the implementation and embedding journey. In this presentation we will share the benefits and importance of collaboration and how sharing the journey, the pitfalls and the wins can make getting to the destination so much easier.


The Evaluation Outcomes of a Socio-Ecological Framework for supporting Children’s Safety and Recovery that integrates the Safe & Together Model

Catherine Gander – CEO, DV West and Terrianne Hughes – Aboriginal Manager of Wirrawee Gunya, DV West

DV West’s Children and Young People’s DFV Specialist Program commenced in September 2022 with a Specialist Children’s worker employed at each refuge to work directly with children and young people in partnership with their mother/carers, who are engaged in our Refuges, Transitional Houses and Outreach Services. This program is guided by “The Children and Young Person’s Framework: Supporting families in domestic and family violence refuges and services (CYP Framework) (Gander, 2015)”.

The CYP Framework recognises that there are many negative and cumulative impacts of domestic and family violence on children and young people, but also acknowledges that children have their own agency, strengths, resistance, and coping strategies. It draws on a growing body of literature exploring the complex range of the strategies that children and young people use to cope and recover. While children and young people are victims/survivors of domestic and family violence ‘in their own right’, the CYP Framework recognises that their recovery requires intervention that addresses the contexts of their lives: their experiences and developmental stage

their relationship with their mother/carer and with their wider family/Kinship network and the interconnection with broader social and community life.

This presentation will draw on the Safe & Together Partnering Approach with victim-survivors, Multiple Pathways to Harm and DV-informed assessment, case planning, and documentation. The aim will be to demonstrate DV West’s specialist practice with Children and Young people and their mother/carers, applying the CYP framework together with the Safe & Together model.


First Nations’ Experience of Domestic and Family Violence (DFV): A Safe & Together Remote Yarning

Deb Hall – Regional Practice Leader, Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services, Queensland Government, Davina Hickling – Team Leader, Warringu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, Sana Pedro – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practice Leader, Warringu ATSI Corporation & Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services, Queensland Government

A collaboration between Queensland’s Department of Child Safety, the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP) and Warringu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation facilitators, saw the coming together of indigenous DFV program staff from community-controlled organisations across Far North Queensland, including Cape York and Torres Strait Islander communities. All shared the understanding that the DFV experience is different for First Nations women and children: Different from mainstream and from the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse women and children. The collaborators developed a Safe & Together training that intended to respond to the unique cultural environments across a broad geographical footprint and within varied program applications (Family Wellbeing Shelter/Refuge setting). The context, intent, process and outcomes of the training evidenced the requirement for a culturally designed Safe & Together training model. The facilitators knew as indigenous people themselves and/or child protection professionals who have worked within the communities, this presentation would require a different approach that would align with the diverse communities represented and that the model must respond to the Indigenous world view, mainstream intersections and the need to build community capacity to support families.


Collaboration Beyond a Conversation

Samantha Jones – Practice Manager, CatholicCare Sydney and Jessica Langtry – Senior Practitioner, CatholicCare

The intersection of family law and the child protection system often results in setbacks for families, primarily due to a lack of collaboration between these systems. CatholicCare Sydney’s Family Law Counselling program addressed these challenges by applying the principles of the Safe & Together Model in assisting a woman and her two children who were facing continued abuse from her former partner. Despite multiple criminal charges against the perpetrator and an active child protection case, the Family Court did not recognise the risk he posed, ordering equal time with both parents and perpetuating harm.

We took a proactive approach, initiating dialogues with other services to enhance their intervention capacity. Leveraging the Model, we focused on perpetrator patterns, the impact on parenting, and identifying intersections to demonstrate the ongoing harm inflicted post-separation. Through open communication and collaboration, we completed numerous client sessions, child protection reports, referrals, case conferences, and conversations with relevant authorities.

Our commitment to collaborative practice proved instrumental in illustrating the clear link between the children’s harm and the persistent abuse by their father. Consequently, the Family Court ordered the children to be returned to their mother’s sole care, with supervised contact visits for the father, prioritising the children’s safety and well-being. The experience highlighted the importance of patience in collaboration, centring clients’ voices, and empowering practitioners to recognise the link to the perpetrator’s behaviour. In the presentation, we aim to share insights into how the Safe & Together Model can drive systemic change in the family law sector.


Our Journey of Shifting Practice in the Northern Territory

Julieanne Davis – Executive Director of clinical practice and professional services and Denella Detourbet – Senior Aboriginal Practice Leader, Territory Families Housing and Communities

In 2019, the NT commenced implementation of the Safe & Together model, Signs of Safety framework and Aboriginal Cultural Security framework in child protection. The last four years has seen significant shifts in practice and although challenging at times has been an exciting journey. Understanding and providing practical examples as to how the approaches have and do align has been an unique journey with many learnings along the way. We would like to share that journey and some examples of how we have landed in terms of our practice.


A new approach to traditional safety planning

Leah O’Dwyer – Domestic and Family Violence Practitioner, Mercy Community Services

Elliot Larter – Intake Specialist, Mercy Community Services

Our objective when working with families is to empower them to make decisions for their own lives. When working with families to address the risk of domestic and family violence, it is our belief that this needs comprehensive assessment and information gathering, as we are engaging with families who are experiencing multiple and
complex needs.


We work with the persons who are experiencing violence, the persons who are using violence and the wider support network (informal and formal) to develop planning for safety and healing within the home. A large portion of our catchment is in isolated/rural regions, this means that we needed to adapt and develop our approach to what a ‘safety plan’ was and how we could use this within our work to be able to ensure safety for families. This may look different for every family.

Our workshop will facilitate an interactive discussion around innovative ways that we can safety plan with families, including the child/ren. This workshop will focus on the overarching goal of “the safety of the child/ren” and the ways in which we can use safety planning to ensure the safety and well-being of families in our work. Our workshop will discuss the effect of ‘safety planning’ on people who experience violence and how our practice of safety planning is able to empower families to develop a sense of strength in their ability to manage their own lives. The workshop will explore ‘unconscious and conscious biases/assumptions professionals can make when working with families where DFV has been identified and explore ways in which gathering information, exploring the family dynamics and working with the family as a unit
can ensure that our biases are not impacting our work.


A future for men’s behaviour change programs: Can they truly partner with survivors?

Rodney Vlais – Policy Advisor, Trainer and change agent focusing on gender-based violence

Men’s behaviour change programs (MBCPs) – also known as Batterer Intervention Programs, Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes, Partner Abuse Programs and Stopping Violence Programmes  – can be an important part of a service system’s response to improve safety and space for action for adult and child survivors. Ideally operating as part of a coordinated community response, these programs attempt to scaffold and support journeys of accountability for men who cause family violence harm, and in the process, contribute to the assessment, management and monitoring of risk.


Domestic violence risk assessment and perpetrator pattern mapping: How might they work together?

Rodney Vlais – Policy Advisor, Trainer and change agent focusing on gender-based violence

Many states, territories and provinces – and sometimes whole nations – have developed their own common domestic violence risk assessment (and risk management) framework. These frameworks typically outline principles, guidance and tools to support services and practitioners to use a common and consistent approach towards assessing and managing risk.


Acts of Resistance and Protection by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Domestic Violence Survivors

Jackie Wruck – Safe & Together Institute, Asia Pacific Regional Manager

This workshop explores the unique resistance strategies and actions used to protect their children employed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are surviving domestic violence. The workshop will consider how Indigenous women resist abuse and violence in their intimate relationships through culturally grounded coping approaches, including connecting to community and Country, preserving traditions and cultural practices, accessing services and healing modalities that are safe and relevant to their needs, and other means of fostering strength, resilience, and wellbeing for themselves and their families. The presenter will help the audience connect these strategies to the Safe & Together Model’s principles and tools, especially partnering and the Perpetrator Pattern Mapping Tool.


The Myth of Parental Alienation

David Mandel – CEO, Safe & Together Institute

The use or misuse of parental alienation in the family court environment, especially in domestic violence cases, is a major source of controversy. This occurs despite the fact that, by definition, parental alienation is not applicable in situations where there are even suspicions of child abuse or domestic violence. Drawing on David Mandel’s book “Stop Blaming Mothers and Ignoring Fathers: How to Transform the Way We Keep Children Safe From Domestic Violence,” this workshop will explore the misapplication of parental alienation in domestic violence cases and alternative approaches to keeping the focus on the harm to children caused by domestic violence perpetrators’ behaviors.

Tags:

Date

Mar 13 - 15 2024
Expired!

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Mar 13 - 15 2024

More Info

Read More

Labels

Public

Location

Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
Melbourne
Category

Speakers

  • Michele Robinson
    Michele Robinson
    Director, Evidence to Action, ANROWS

    Michele Robinson has extensive experience in building knowledge partnerships and developing strategies for the translation, application and exchange of research evidence to reduce domestic, family and sexual violence. Michele has provided strategic advice to Australian and international governments and peak bodies on legal, policy and practice initiatives to prevent and respond to domestic, family and sexual violence.

    For the last five years in her role as the inaugural Director of Evidence to Action at ANROWS, Michele has led a multidisciplinary team who have had considerable impact on policy and legislative reform in the areas of coercive control, improving police responses to domestic and family violence, and at the intersections between child protection and domestic and family violence services.

  • Jessica Langtry
    Jessica Langtry
    Senior Practitioner, CatholicCare

    Jess is the Senior Family Law Counsellor at CatholicCare Sydney’s Family Counselling and Separation Services, bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role. With a background as the manager of a prominent Government Funded Children’s Contact Centre, Jess has proven her dedication to facilitating positive outcomes for families experiencing separation. As a qualified social worker and supervisor with the Australian College of Applied Professions, Jess leverages over a decade of diverse community service experience. She is also a licensed facilitator of internationally recognised parenting programs. Jess actively contributes to strengthening parent-child relationships and promoting healthy family dynamics through programs such as Keeping Kids In Mind, Circle of Security, and the Wrapped in Angels program.

    With a wealth of knowledge and dedication, Jess is a compassionate advocate for families facing challenges, consistently striving to empower and support them through her comprehensive skill set and commitment to professional development.

  • Jennifer Crawley
    Jennifer Crawley
    Senior Judicial Registrar and Director, National Registrar Operations, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

    Jennifer was appointed as a Judicial Registrar in both the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia in October 2020. She was promoted to Senior Judicial Registrar in the FCFCOA in October 2022. In her role as Director of National Registrar Operations, Jennifer works closely with the CEO and Deputy Principal Registrar in support of all registrars and registrar support staff in the FCFCOA.
    Before commencing with the Court, Jennifer was the Assistant National Manager in the Office of General Counsel at the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS).
    Jennifer commenced practising family law in 2008 in Wollongong before taking up a role with a specialist family law firm in Canberra in 2009. Jennifer worked in private practice, as well as Legal Aid NSW and Legal Aid ACT, before joining AGS and then the Court. Jennifer is an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and managed Legal Aid ACT’s FDR program, and the Helpline and duty solicitor services. Jennifer also managed the Grants Division of Legal Aid ACT during which time she was the primary decision maker in relation to grants of legal assistance. Jennifer was a member of the Legal Profession Act and Ethics Committee of the ACT Law Society for 6 years until 2019.

  • Julieanne Davis
    Julieanne Davis
    Executive Director Clinical Practice and Professional Services, Territory Families

    Julieanne has lived and worked in Northern Australia for a number of decades. She commenced working as a Youth Justice Officer in the late 80’s in Darwin, Northern Territory and held a number of positions in Community Corrections for approximately 18 years. She then decided with her partner to do a road trip which ended in the Kimberley, Western Australia where she held the position of District Director West Kimberley, Department of Child Protection for over seven years. Julieanne then spent two years as Executive Director Country Services with the Department in WA returning to the Northern Territory in 2017. She commenced with Territory Families in late 2018 and is currently Executive Director Clinical Practice and Professional Services.

    Julieanne is passionate about improving outcomes for Aboriginal children and their families and has a keen interest in how systems and attitudes can change to better meet the needs of vulnerable families. As a proud grandmother, Julieanne appreciates that looking after and valuing children and the role of parents will make the world her granddaughters grow up in a safer and kinder place.

  • Denella Detourbet
    Denella Detourbet
    Senior Aboriginal Practice Leader, Territory Families, Housing and Communities

    Denella Detourbet is an Aboriginal woman who was born and raised in Darwin, with family connections throughout Darwin, and Daly River in the Northern Territory, and in the North West Kimberley’s Western Australia.

    Denella has worked for Territory Families for more than 7 years, and currently works as a Senior Aboriginal Practice Leader with the Clinical Professional Practice Leadership Directorate, providing professional leadership and direction in strengthening Aboriginal Cultural competency including building practice capability whilst developing a culture of practice excellence, innovation and continuous improvement.

    Denella further strengthens productive working relationships with Aboriginal stakeholders, non-government organisations and the local community to enhance collaborative practice with Aboriginal children, families and the community.

  • Leah O'Dwyer
    Leah O'Dwyer
    Domestic and Family Violence Practitioner, Mercy Community

    Leah has worked within social welfare/social justice roles for the past 10 years predominantly around regional and rural locations within Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. She completed her bachelor of psychological science in 2014 at La Trobe University in Albury/Wodonga.

    Leah has held a diverse range of roles throughout the years working within or alongside statutory Child Protection Services in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

    She has significant experience working with a broad range of issues that affect vulnerable families and has worked specifically as a Domestic and Family Violence Practitioner/Specialist in Townsville and Ipswich regions. Within a DFV space, she has provided practice guidance to Intensive Family Support (IFS) Teams, as well as designed and facilitated training regarding intersections of the issues that families may be experiencing, holistic risk assessment and alternative safety planning in a rural/regional setting.”

  • Hayley Foster
    Hayley Foster
    Director – Family Violence / Director – Access, Equity and Inclusion, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

    Hayley Foster, holding a BBus (Ec) LLB (Hons) GDLP GDFDRP GAICD, has been appointed to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia as the Director of Family Violence and Director of Access, Equity, and Inclusion. In this role, she advises the Chief Justice and Chief Executive Officer/Principal Registrar on enhancing the Courts’ response to family violence and increasing accessibility for diverse and priority populations.

    Hayley is a recognised leader in the field of family, domestic, and sexual violence, with over 20 years of experience creating impactful change in business, community, and government settings.

    Throughout her career, Hayley has worked in frontline specialist family, domestic, and sexual violence services, accredited behaviour change, family law practice, family disputes resolution, financial advisory services, training, consulting, policy development, law reform, and organisational leadership.

    More recently, Hayley has turned her attention to sector and organisational development, working with a wide range of entities, including government, statutory agencies, judiciary, universities, sports, media, arts, ASX-listed companies, and various industry bodies, supporting boards and executives to drive cultural change for safer, more inclusive organisations. It is this experience base that she now brings to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia in this new role.
    In the past decade, across multiple roles, Hayley has played a key part in influencing and shaping substantial policy and law reforms at the state and federal levels. These include, but are not limited to, the criminalisation of coercive control, affirmative sexual consent laws, a national curriculum on respectful relationships, paid domestic violence leave, Respect@Work, and prioritising safety in family law. Notable advisory roles include being a member of the Commonwealth Advisory Group for the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2032, as well as the Fair Work Commission’s Sexual Harassment Working Group.

  • Metta Trousdell
    Metta Trousdell
    Program Officer for the Walking with Dads Program with the Department of Child Safety, Seniors, Disability Services

    I am a Program Officer for the Walking with Dads Program with the Department of Child Safety, Seniors, Disability Services. The Walking with Dads program was developed in response to the identified need to strengthen the engagement of fathers in Child Protection system by implementing the Safe and Together framework as best practice in understanding and responding to families living with domestic and family violence. I have recently completed her first part of my certification to become a Safe and Together trainer and have started presenting to community and Child Safety staff. I have worked in the Child Protection field for the past 10 years working across the continuum, including working on the Domestic Violence High Risk Team in Mackay Queensland as the Child Safety representative. I hold a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of the Sunshine Coast, and most recently I have participated in the MARCC two project alongside Mercy and other government and non-government agencies on the prisoner release program project.

  • Angela Pritchard
    Angela Pritchard
    DFV Coordination Lead, Mercy Community

    Angela has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University majoring in Psychology and Criminological research. Angela also received her Master of Social Work at ACU.

    Following Angela’s career in human services, she held leadership roles in child safety and DFV services. Currently, Angela also serves on the board of a DFV charity and actively participates in Steering Committees within the Legal and DFV sectors.

    Following on from Angela completing the S&T Core Training, in 2021, she qualified to become a trainer in Safe & Together and has since successfully facilitated several Safe & Together Core Training sessions. This supports her ability to publicise the strengths of the model in practice, and facilitate several Communities of Practice.

  • Colleen West
    Colleen West
    Business Manager, Stopping Family Violence

    Colleen has worked in management roles in health and mental health for the last 7 years in Government, not-for-profit and the private sector. Seeing the impact of family domestic and sexual violence through services has influenced a passion for creating change and increased awareness and creating better systems and practices. Colleen has a strong interest in holistic health and well-being and is currently finalising a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science from The University of Notre Dame Australia and a Bachelor of Psychological Science from the Swinburne University of Technology.

    Working for Stopping Family Violence since early 2021 as part of the leadership team in engagement with stakeholders to support SFV organisational goals as well as project management, event planning, and delivering training across the organisation. Working on the front line in one of the busiest public emergency departments in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria, Australia managing over 200 staff brings an understanding of the role of service response and the role each service must work together for better outcomes. Whilst also bringing the experience of working in the private sector running a busy mental health department that looked after 80,000 employees including managing critical incident responses, well-being programs and general counselling on a global scale for Australian workplaces with the insight of the intersect to the work needed in family, domestic and sexual violence.

  • Alannah Cavalieri
    Alannah Cavalieri
    AOD Family Violence Advisor, Odyssey House Victoria

    Working on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Bunurong peoples of the East Kulin nation, Alannah is employed as an AOD Family Violence Advisor at Odyssey House Victoria. A social worker with 14 years’ experience in both residential and community settings, she is passionate about anti oppressive practice and systems transformation.

    Alannah has completed Safe & Together Core and Supervision training.

  • Jolene Ellat
    Jolene Ellat
    CEO, DART Institute Inc.

    Jolene Ellat is founder and Director of the Domestic Abuse Resource and Training Group (DART Group) and principal of DART Institute.
    Jolene is a domestic family violence (DFV) and sexual violence specialist. She provides research, workforce development consultancy, professional training and supervision for government and non-government agencies and community groups. She provides policy and practice expertise in prevention, early intervention, perpetrator intervention, supervision and trauma recovery. She has a special interest in cultural diversity and competency when working with families from diverse backgrounds.
    Jolene is experienced in perpetrator intervention research and training. She worked with peak bodies implementing the COVID-19 response to ensure perpetrator visibility across Western Australia throughout COVID-19 and into economic recovery.
    Jolene has a track record for leading multi-agency and multi-disciplinary approaches to FDV intervention. Recently, she conducted research into supporting the Family Domestic Violence Response Teams (FDVRTs) and facilitated cross-sectorial professional development with Police (WAPOL), child protection and the Coordinated Response Service (8 specialist sector agencies).
    As a Safe and Together trainer, Jolene has personally delivered CORE training to now over 1000 practitioners across Australia with a global first delivering to the Department of Justice and since, Department of Health. Jolene works with organisations to ensure the model is able to be embedded within heir organisation by specialist consultations prior to training.
    Jolene has an impressive academic and research record. Jolene is an active contributor to academic publications. She presents nationally and internationally at conferences and is invited as a guest speaker on live panels.

  • Tania Milburn
    Tania Milburn
    Alcohol and Other Drug, Specialist Family Violence Advisor in Western Melbourne

    Tania Milburn is a social worker who is currently working as an Alcohol and Other Drug, Specialist Family Violence Advisor in Western Melbourne. Tania has a passion for reducing AOD-related harm to individuals and families while advocating for an inclusive and systemic change within service streams particularly for individuals experiencing family violence. She has worked within multiple service areas including mental health, harm reduction, youth, and specialist family violence. Tania’s experience includes direct client work, leadership, social welfare in an outreach capacity, group facilitation, and training. Tania believes in the principles of confidentiality, social justice, access and equality, and the protection of human rights. Tania works on Wurundjeri, Bunurong, and Wadawurrung Country collaboratively with respect, an open mind, and a passion for continued advocacy for change.

  • Hayley Tuttle
    Hayley Tuttle
    Manager, Regional Services, Greater Darwin Territory Families, Housing and Communities

    Hayley Tuttle is a certified Safe & Together Trainer who is currently working in Territory Families, Housing and Communities on Larrakia country. Hayley has a Bachelor Psychology with Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology. Hayley is currently completing a Masters in Criminology through Bond University, to be completed in April 2024. As part of the Masters course, Hayley has undertaken research, analysing policy relating to domestic violence-related death review processes globally. Hayley has commenced planning to complete a PhD, researching the connection between perpetrators of domestic abuse, diagnosed personality disorders, and the capability for behaviour change. Hayley has worked in child protection for over 19 years in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Hayley advocates for integrated service delivery where a shared language and co-ordinated response, supports positive outcomes for victim survivors.

  • Berna Thurgate
    Berna Thurgate

    Bernadette Thurgate is a Ngugi Noonuccal woman from Quandamooka Country and is currently acting as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practice Leader in the South East Region of Queensland. Berna is dedicated, motivated and passionate to improving the life outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families who experience vulnerability. Berna believes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children deserve every opportunity to grow up feeling nurtured and safe in a caring environment and to realise and reach their full potential and thrive within their family and community. Berna has worked in the Queensland Government for nearly 30 years, the last 13 have been in a range of roles with a child protection focus and she became a certified trainer in the Safe & Together model in late 2023.

  • Terrianne Hughes
    Terrianne Hughes
    Aboriginal Manager of Wirrawee Gunya, DV West

    Terrieanne is a proud Wiradjuri Aboriginal woman, with over a decade of experience in Aboriginal program management. Serving as the Aboriginal Manager at Wirrawee Gunya since 2018, she adeptly oversees diverse programs, while managing Aboriginal Domestic Violence Specialist workers.

    Terrieanne plays key roles as the Co-Chair of DV West’s Reconciliation Action Plan working group and Chair of the Aboriginal Cultural Reference Group, actively shaping strategies for reconciliation and cultural understanding. A driving force in improving organisational cultural competency, she develops policies and provides support/mentoring for staff.

    Terrieanne currently sits on the Board of the local Aboriginal Health Service (GWAHS) and advocates to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

    Terrieanne is one of a few Aboriginal Certified Safe & Together Trainers in NSW where she has co-delivered the first two Aboriginal only Safe & Together Core Training Programs, with her colleague Kelly Le Mene.

  • Lynda Dunstan
    Lynda Dunstan
    Family and Domestic Violence Advisor, Anglicare Sydney

    Lynda has worked for Anglicare Sydney for 15 years both as Senior Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and Child Consultant at Parramatta Family Relationships Centre, and as DFV Advisor since 2017. Lynda has been an accredited Safe and Together trainer since early 2020. She is passionate about supporting DV survivors and helping both organisations and churches be domestic violence informed and proficient in all areas of practice. She is editor of Renew- An Australian Guide for Christian Women Survivors of domestic abuse (2022).

  • Simone Ruscuklic
    Simone Ruscuklic
    Family Services Practice and Performance Lead, Anglicare Victoria

    Simone Ruscuklic has been with Anglicare Victoria since 2010 and has been in the Family Services Practice and Performance Lead role for the past eighteen months. Simone has undertaken a variety of roles at AV, from case management to leadership and senior management. Simone has a background in the delivery and oversight of Family Services, Out of Home Care, Family Violence and Community Services. As Family Services Practice and Performance Lead she is responsible for promoting state-wide consistency in implementing best practice approaches, frameworks and legislation. She has played a pivotal role in strengthening the agency’s response to family violence, driving the creation of a comprehensive Family Violence Practice Framework to enhance service delivery and improve outcomes for children, youth and families who have experienced harm from family violence.

  • Elliot Larter
    Elliot Larter
    Intake Specialist, Mercy Community Services

    Elliot is currently working as the Intake Specialist for Mercy Community’s Connected Families Program in Ipswich. Elliot obtained his Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at the University of Queensland. Since completing his studies, Elliot has engaged in innovative therapeutic work with young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder where video games, such as Minecraft, are used as tools to develop the ability of young people to communicate and build connections.

    In his current role, Elliot oversees all referrals that come through for Intensive Family Support (IFS), and works proactively with other services to ensure safety is maintained for families where domestic and family violence has been identified as a concern. Elliot has strived to increase interagency collaboration across the Greater Ipswich region through presentations to stakeholders, and has been integral in discussions around how the Safe and Together model can be implemented further within the IFS space. Elliot completed the Core Safe and Together Training in 2023 and has utilised the model within his own practice when engaging with both parents as part of the IFS intervention.

  • David Mandel
    David Mandel
    CEO, Founder, Owner, Safe & Together Institute

    With over almost 30 years’ experience in the domestic violence field, David’s international training and consulting focuses on improving systems’ responses to domestic violence when children are involved. Through years of work with child welfare systems, David has developed the Safe & Together™ Model to improve case practice and cross-system collaboration in domestic violence cases involving children. He has also identified how a perpetrator pattern-based approach can improve our ability to help families and promote the development of domestic violence-informed child welfare systems.

    David and the Safe & Together Institute’s staff and faculty have consulted to United States’ child welfare systems in a number of states including New York, Louisiana, New Jersey, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, Vermont, Oregon and Ohio. In the last five years, their work has expanded outside the United States with research, training and consultation in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and other countries. The Safe & Together Institute works closely with domestic violence advocates, in the United States and abroad, to help them more effectively work with child protection systems and better advocate for child welfare-involved adult and child domestic violence survivors. David has written and published online courses which has launched a new Safe & Together Model Certified Trainer initiative that will increase the Institute’s ability to support sustainable implementation of domestic violence-informed practice in the US and abroad.

    David has written or co-written journal articles on batterer’s perceptions of their children’s exposure to domestic violence, domestic violence case reading tools, and the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare practice. His chapter on “Batterers and the Lives of Their Children” was published in the Praeger Series Violence Against Women in Families and Relationships.

  • Fiona Brown
    Fiona Brown
    Team Leader Child and Youth Counselling, Community Action Inc

    Fiona is an experienced child focussed practitioner. She has worked in early childhood, been a child safety officer for many years, a referral practitioner and a specialist DFV worker for Family and Child Connect on the sunshine coast before taking on the role of child and youth counsellor in Gympie DFV service. Fiona has also been a parent, has lived experience and has her own business in Mental health and Wellbeing working with women, teens and children specialising in complex trauma recovery and transpersonal development.

  • Margaret Kertesz
    Margaret Kertesz
    Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

    Dr Margaret Kertesz is a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne, with two decades experience in the areas of domestic and family violence, child protection and out-of-home care. Her specific research interests include the impact on children of domestic violence, approaches that promote recovery post-violence, with a focus on evaluation, applied research and knowledge translation. She works in close collaboration with service providers to promote good practice and the systems that support it. She has worked on four research projects involving the Safe & Together Institute.

  • Emma Shaw
    Emma Shaw
    Acting Manager Child and Family Services, Tania Milburn – AOD Specialist Family Violence Advisor

    Emma Shaw is a certified Safe & Together Trainer, who is currently working as an Alcohol and Other Drug, Specialist Family Violence Advisor at Odyssey House. She is a social worker with over 18 years of experience within the social and community sector. Emma has a passion for social justice, advocacy, critical thinking and radical systemic change. She has worked within multiple service areas including mental health, homelessness and specialist family violence. Emma has held positions in numerous workforce areas including direct client work, leadership, program development, project management, workforce development, training and research. Emma believes that when we work collectively in solidarity, we can encourage incredible systemic change. Emma works on Wurundjeri Country.

  • Cherie Toivonen
    Cherie Toivonen
    Managing Director, CLT Byron Consulting

    Cherie Toivonen is an independent researcher working in the violence, abuse, and neglect space. Cherie has over 20 years’ experience working on research and evaluation projects. Whilst employed at the University of Sydney she managed two complex multi-agency ARC funded research projects and was the Senior Researcher for the NSW component of three ANROWS funded multi-state research projects. At ANROWS, she led the project that developed the National Risk Assessment Principles for Domestic and Family Violence and held the role of Acting Director of the Research Program. As Managing Director of CLT Byron Consulting she was contracted by the Ministry of Health (NSW Health) to design and run the Adult Survivor Pilot Project which utilised an action research approach to develop new integrated ways of working with adult survivors of childhood sexual assault. Cherie also has extensive experience in teaching and supervision of students in the social work program, across both the Masters and Undergraduate programs at the University of Sydney. She has a continued commitment to teaching and learning within the social work profession and a strong commitment to social justice, feminist principles, and intersectionality, and holds these central to all aspect of her work.

  • Cathy Humphreys
    Cathy Humphreys
    Professor of Social Work, University of Melbourne

    Cathy Humphreys is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at University of Melbourne. She specialises in applied research. Seven projects have worked with the Safe & Together Institute using practice-led, action research through facilitated multi-stakeholder workshops and Communities of Practice. This approach reflects a profound interest in knowledge translation to ensure the support of practice through research. Her research focuses on DFV and child abuse. She has a long-term interest in the intersection of DFV with other complexities including mental health and AOD. Cathy Humphreys is a well published author of more than 170 journal articles. She worked at the University of Warwick for 12 years leading a domestic violence and child abuse research centre before returning to Australia in 2006. For 15 years she worked as a social worker.

  • Jackie Wruck
    Jackie Wruck
    Asia Pacific Regional Manager, Safe & Together Institute

    Jackie Wruck has been a Certified Trainer with the Safe & Together Institute in Australia since 2017 and joins the Safe & Together Institute as the Asia Pacific Regional Manager! Jackie lives in Queensland, AU, and has been working within the community sector for over 20 years. This included working within Government and Non-Government agencies that worked with vulnerable individuals and families in Australia. Jackie has worked in the fields of Child Protection and Domestic Violence as a frontline practitioner in both advocating and crisis support of families. She has also worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations as a DV Specialist and would consult on cases that involved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Jackie has the lived experience, knowledge and understanding of the issue of DFV in the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and was the cultural lead for the Walking With Dad’s program, which is grounded in the Safe & Together Model. Jackie has assisted in bringing both Safe & Together and the Child Protection Child Placement Principles framework together to enhance the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in Australia to assist in keeping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children out of the Child Protection system. In addition to training on the Safe & Together Model, Jackie continued to use the Safe & Together Model directly with families as a child protection professional, coaching and consulting on cases with domestic violence. She continues to be committed to the safety and well-being of children and families through practice changes through the Safe & Together Model. Jackie will be representing, assisting and supporting Safe & Together Institute in the development and implementation of the model across Australia and Asia Pacific regions.

  • Nneka MacGregor
    Nneka MacGregor
    Co-founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Centre for Social Justice

    Nneka is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Centre for Social Justice, better known as WomenatthecentrE, a unique non-profit created by and for women, trans, and gender-diverse survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) to champion survivor-led innovations in the domestic & family violence field.
    She is a Black intersectional abolitionist feminist, international speaker & trainer, and expert advisory panel member of the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability. She also co-founded the Black Femicide Canada Council and was appointed as one of two 2024 Activist-in-Residence at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

  • Marlene Lauw
    Marlene Lauw
    Statewide Senior Educator – Aboriginal Programs, NSW Health, Education Centre Against Violence

    Marlene Lauw, is a Wiradjuri and Ngunnawal woman who has had extensive experience working with Aboriginal communities providing support, counselling, advocacy and group work. Marlene holds specialised skills and knowledge in competency-based training, supervision and workforce development in the area of trauma, healing, family violence, sexual assault and child protection.

    Marlene explores and integrates Aboriginal worldviews and theorise, trauma informed care and healing frameworks in course design and delivery for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal practitioners working in clinical, community and policy settings to increase professional capability in responding to the unique needs of Aboriginal people.

    Making change and improving policies and strategies for working with Aboriginal people across the whole of sector is Marlene’s core business and passion and this has been succeeded through much collaboration and partnership with Gov and Non-government organisations across the State.

  • Rodney Vlais
    Rodney Vlais
    Policy Advisor, Trainer and change agent focusing on gender-based violence

    Rodney Vlais is a psychologist, trainer, supervisor and transformative justice activist contributing towards the end of men’s use of family, domestic and sexualised violence. They are passionate about learning from community-based processes of collective accountability towards how we can respond to people who cause harm, in ways that centralise adult and child victim-survivor struggles for safety, dignity and space for action. Together with the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research, Rodney was responsible for first bringing David Mandel out to Australia just over ten years ago, and has adopted Safe and Together principles and practices into his training since that time.

  • Janet Carmichael
    Janet Carmichael
    Executive Director, Court Children’s Service Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia,

    Janet is the Executive Director of the Court Children’s Service in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. In this role, Janet is responsible for the work undertaken by the psychologists and social workers who are engaged by the Court to assist families, registrars and judges make decisions that are in the best interests of children.

    Directly prior to joining the Court in 2017, Janet was a Director with the Australian Government’s mental health service for serving and ex-serving defence force members. Janet has held roles managing family counselling, family mediation and men’s behaviour change programs and was the inaugural manager of the Sydney City Family Relationship Centre. In addition to her 18 years in clinical management roles, Janet has over 20 years’ experience doing direct clinical work with children and families. Janet is a registered psychologist and also holds a Master’s degree in
    management.

    Janet has worked closely with David Mandel in the development of the Safe & Together Training for the social scientists working for the Courts.

  • Samantha Jones
    Samantha Jones
    Practice Manager, CatholicCare Sydney

    Samantha Jones is the Practice Manager of CatholicCare Sydney’s Family Counselling and Separation Services. Samantha has extensive experience working with individuals, children, and families impacted by domestic and family violence, who are intersecting with family law, child protection, and mental health systems. Samantha has spent the last few years focused on post-separation domestic violence and child development. Her work has involved the development of evidence-informed play therapy groups for children to improve child outcomes after separation when domestic and family violence is present. She is passionate about supporting children’s voices to be heard to enact real change and supporting whole-of-family approaches to responding to domestic and family violence in the family law sector.
    Samantha holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of NSW and a Master of Human Resources (Organisational Change Management) from Charles Sturt University. She is a licensed facilitator of the parenting programs: Keeping Kids In Mind, Tuning Into Kids, and Circle of Security. Samantha has completed the CORE Training, the Supervisors & Managers Training and has recently undertaken the Trainer Certification Program.

  • Carolyn Cochrane
    Carolyn Cochrane
    Domestic Violence System Coordination Facilitator, DVSC Mercy

    Carolyn graduated University of Chester (UK) with a BA Hons in Social Work. Carolyn also holds a Diploma in Child Care Health and Education. Carolyn has worked for numerous years in the UK as a Child Protection Social Worker for the local authorities, she has also worked for several foster and kinship care agencies in both UK and Australia, before moving onto DFV crisis and specialist DFV responses.

    Carolyn completed Safe & Together training in 2021 and has co-facilitated Community of Practices highlighting the significance of the Model for collaboration. Carolyn recently received an award for developing new or improved processes, methods, systems or services that have inspired or improved outcomes for woman impacted by DFV.

  • Mark O'Hare
    Mark O'Hare
    Operations Manager, Stopping Family Violence

    Mark O’Hare is a Senior Social Worker with over 20 years experience in working in Men’s Behaviour Change Programs, Violent Offender Treatment Programs, Sex Offender Treatment Programs and working with Men with AOD issues. Mark has held a number of positions in government including a specialised FDV Coordinator and consultant role with WA Department of Justice.

    Mark’s work with Stopping Family Violence, as Operations Manager has involved extensive consultation across the sector in WA with a focus across FDV advocacy, policy, research and training. Mark is an experienced FDV specialist in WA and fully accredited trainer in the Safe and Together model and Caring Dads program. Mark is also the proud father of two incredible girls.

  • Jen Korn
    Jen Korn
    Program Manager, ACT for Kids

    Jen’s passion for Domestic and Family Violence prevention and awareness came from when she was a Probation and Parole officer undertaking a Social Work placement. After 4 years she realised that her interest laid with Domestic and Family Violence prevention rather than working with perpetrators who have already been sentenced. She then moved into a case management providing intensive support to families while growing her knowledge of Domestic and Family Violence and the intricacies that are involved. From here her desire to make a difference for Domestic and Family Violence prevention was firmly in place. The next move was into a specialised Domestic and Family Violence role which allowed her to discover the Safe & Together community. Advocating for her community to become Safe & Together aware was her next challenge. From here she moved Management which allowed her to overlay Domestic and Family Violence. Her drive to mentor, provide a supportive workplace and upskill, develop and grow staff, is what bought Jen to Act for Kids. She still very much thrives on “hands on family work” as this is why we work in this field.

    She is the Co-Founder of a local Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Charity. The Charity aims to provide free bespoke education sessions to businesses/sporting groups/government agencies, physical support to victims, referral pathways and individualised resources for large companies.

  • Emma Rogers
    Emma Rogers
    DFV Principal Project Officer, QLD Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services

    Emma has over 25 years of experience working in the social work field in Australia and the UK specifically in the areas of domestic and family violence (women’s refuges and services) and child protection. Emma has developed and worked in the Walking with Dads Program – a QLD child protection program focused on adult and child survivor-led intervention, to design engagement with father/father figures who perpetrate coercive control to increase safety and wellbeing for families. Currently Emma works for the QLD Dept of Child Safety for the Sunshine Coast and Central Region consulting, training, and supporting child protection practitioners to apply and embed the Safe & Together Model to increase safety and wellbeing for families, support reunification of children to their mothers and families, and to stop needless removals of children from their mothers. Emma has been a Safe and Together trainer since 2018 and trained over one thousand practitioners across Queensland.

  • Megan Duffy
    Megan Duffy
    Senior Team Leader, Department of Child Safety Department of Child Safety

    Currently a Team Leader at Child Safety, in Rockhampton. I have worked with the Department for 5 years and during my time with child safety have worked with many families experiencing domestic and family violence. I have completed safe and together training and is currently completing my masters in Domestic and Family Violence Practice. In my work with families experiencing DFV, I am passionate about bringing the child’s voice to the forefront, partnering with mothers, and supporting perpetrators to change their abusive behaviours.

  • Clare Brady
    Clare Brady
    Practice Consultant FDV Services, Anglicare WA

    Clare Brady is the Practice Consultant for FDV Services in Anglicare WA. In this role Clare oversees all FDV services provided by Anglicare WA, working on policies and procedures that underpin our work, provides clinical supervision when required, as well as providing support and guidance to staff working on complex cases. A large part of Clare’s role is sector engagement and program development. Clare is a qualified social worker of 26+ years and has worked in both the victim survivor and perpetrator space. Clare did her initial CORE training in 2020, loved the model and since this time has been working to introduce the model to Anglicare WA’s frontline FDV workers and counsellors throughout 2023 and beyond.

  • Catherine Gander
    Catherine Gander
    CEO of DV West

    Cat Gander has four decades of experience in the Domestic and Family Violence and Social Justice Sector at a both a policy and practice level, including advocacy for First Nations people. Cat has held the position as CEO of DV West for the past 5 years where she has led the implementation of the Safe & Together Model into practice. Prior to this, Cat worked in an advisory capacity to government and as an expert representative for the sector at both a state and national level.

    Between 2003-2012, Cat held the position as CEO NSW Women’s Refuge Movement, Peak body for 60 women and children’s domestic violence services across NSW. In 2007 Cat was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and travelled to Canada the US, UK and Austria to investigate policies, programs and approaches to reduce the short and long term effects of domestic violence on children. On return to Australia she continued to use this work to influence the development of legislation, practices and policies that increase the protection and support of children and their mother/carers. This resulted in changes to the NSW Domestic Violence Act, to include children as protected persons on Apprehension Violence Orders.
    Cat is the author of The Children and Young Person’s Framework: Supporting families in domestic and family violence refuges and services (2015) which guides DV West’s Children and Young People’s DFV Specialist Program. In 2022 Cat received a Safe & Together Champion Award for demonstrating excellence in systems change.

  • Sanna Pedro
    Sanna Pedro
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practice Leader, Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services

    Sanna is a Torres Strait Islander woman with family connections to St Paul’s Village on Moa Island, Mer (Murray Island) and Besi (Mabuiag Island). Sanna has worked in the Child Protection sector for 10+ years commencing in the Recognised Entity role. Sanna was born and raised in Cairns and has lived and worked in Brisbane, Ceduna and Canberra. Sanna’s current role is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practice leader in the Far North region. Sanna’s focus areas are prevention and early intervention for families, self-determination for families, building strong safety and support networks, embedding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principles and building cultural capability. Sanna has a Bachelor of Business and enjoys volunteering in her community, especially working with young people – using sport as a vehicle to promote teamwork, commitment and confidence. Completing the Safe & Together 4 Day CORE Training, Sana has gone on and is now completing the Train the Trainer course.

Kimly Sills, a 26-year child welfare veteran in Ontario, Canada, has been a passionate Safe & Together advocate since she discovered it seven years ago. Her journey began when she was tasked with supervising a specialized domestic violence protection team, developing the program, and acting as the community liaison to improve relationships between Child Welfare and Violence Against Women sectors. Since that time, she introduced the Safe & Together™ Model to her agency and has grown the practice within by actively using it with every family impacted by domestic violence that she supervises. Kimly has dedicated her child welfare practice to becoming more domestic violence informed by coaching staff, supervisors, members of the legal department, and community partners to implement the Safe & Together™ principles, tools, and skills into their daily practice to improve outcomes for families and cross-system collaboration.

Kimly is bi-lingual and has worked in child welfare as a front-line worker, team supervisor, and program manager. Kimly’s experience as a supervisor/manager includes intake, clinical assessments, ongoing family services, as well as, working with foster families, children/youth in care, and public relations. She has been trained in the Signs of Safety (SOS), strength-based approach and guides staff to increase the implementation of SOS in their child welfare practice. Kimly understands first-hand the similarities and differences between the two models (SOS and S&T) and how they can work together clinically to reach optimum results in child, survivor, and/or worker safety, as well as increased engagement with fathers in a child welfare system.

Kimly also runs her own private practice as a Clinical Social worker providing individual and couples therapy. She specializes in working with individuals impacted by domestic violence, including survivors, family/friends trying to support them, and perpetrators motivated to make better, non-violent/controlling choices.

Rebecca’s journey with the Safe & Together Institute began in 2024. Rebecca brings a solid educational foundation to her role with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Investments from West Chester University and a Master of Science Degree from Wilmington University. Prior to her tenure at Safe & Together, Rebecca served as the Director of Finance and IT for an entertainment attraction. While finance serves as the cornerstone of her expertise, Rebecca’s journey has ventured into the domains of Information Technology and Human Resources. She has cultivated a well-rounded skill set that uniquely positions her as a catalyst for progress within the Safe & Together Institute. At the heart of Rebecca’s approach lies a commitment to partnership and ensuring that business growth remains intertwined with organizational mission and goals. Her inclusive mindset is at the core of balanced decision-making.

With over 15 years of business operations, strategy, and partnership experience, Kat has led teams and consulted for global organizations, including Amazon, Procter & Gamble, American Express, and Microsoft. She joined S&TI to accelerate the mission and vision by enabling individuals and teams to find more powerful, efficient ways to deliver results for our expanding global community.

Kat’s business expertise spans sales, finance, engineering, product, marketing, HR, legal, and PR. She is an entrepreneur with previous consulting and career coaching business leadership. Kat received her MBA from the Yale School of Management in Sustainability (inclusive of Social Enterprise) and her BFA in Art from New York University.

Christine leads the Finance Team for Safe & Together since her joining in 2023. She has over 20 years of cumulative experience in the areas of finance and business, and change management. Christine is a certified Executive Coach from the Institute of Leadership at United Kingdom. She brings her experience of working in leadership coaching, management training and human resources to her work practice, along with her passion for a mindfulness-based approach.  Having qualified in Computer Studies, she also has a wide-ranging experience of technology gained during her tenure in the technology arena.

 

 

Jackie Wruck

Jackie Wruck has been a Certified Trainer with the Safe & Together Institute in Australia since 2017 and joins the Safe & Together Institute as the Asia Pacific Regional Manager! Jackie lives in Queensland, AU, and has been working within the community sector for over 20 years. This included working within Government and Non-Government agencies that worked with vulnerable individuals and families in Australia. Jackie has worked in the fields of Child Protection and Domestic Violence as a frontline practitioner in both advocating and crisis support of families. She has also worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations as a DV Specialist and would consult on cases that involved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Jackie has the lived experience, knowledge and understanding of the issue of DFV in the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and was the cultural lead for the Walking With Dad’s program, which is grounded in the Safe & Together Model.  Jackie has assisted in bringing both Safe & Together and the Child Protection Child Placement Principles framework together to enhance the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in Australia to assist in keeping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children out of the Child Protection system.  In addition to training on the Safe & Together Model, Jackie continued to use the Safe & Together Model directly with families as a child protection professional, coaching and consulting on cases with domestic violence. She continues to be committed to the safety and well-being of children and families through practice changes through the Safe & Together Model. Jackie will be representing, assisting and supporting Safe & Together Institute in the development and implementation of the model across Australia and Asia Pacific regions.

Donna Dukes

Donna joined the Safe & Together Institute in December 2022 as a Coordinator for the Trainer Certification Program. She comes to us with a combination of both corporate and non-profit experiences. Previously, Donna held training coordinator positions in the financial sector with The Vanguard Group and Training The Street. In the non-profit sector, she was dedicated to community service, both professionally and personally. As the Training Manager for United Way of Central Carolinas, she managed a leadership development program. Volunteering in her spare time, she became an integral part of domestic violence awareness, advocacy and training. Appointed by the City Council and the Board of County Commissioners, she previously served two years as the Chair of the Domestic Violence Advisory Board in Charlotte, NC.

Donna holds a Masters Degree in Health and Human Performance and a Bachelors Degree in Organizational Communications. Donna has received the “Volunteer of The Year” award from United Family Services, a Commendation Award from the chief of the Charlotte Mecklenburg County Police Department and has had several appearances on local television. Academically, she consistently made the Dean’s List; was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, The National Communication Association Honor Society; and was recognized by the North Carolina State Senate for her academic achievements. With a sense of humor and a lot of inspiration, Donna loves bringing joy and hope to others.

Nicola Douglas

Nicola Douglas has eighteen years of experience in the field of domestic abuse. Her passion for the issue began when she was an undergraduate, volunteering in a homeless hostel and working with women made homeless as they fled abuse. She went on to work as a front-line practitioner in a range of settings, including refuge, outreach (as an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor – IDVA) and Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA). Nicola’s interest lies in systems change and she moved into strategic roles, successfully implementing programmes to improve domestic abuse outcomes within social care, police and the ambulance service. Nicola spent four years at Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse in the UK, with and alongside partners, to improve the way that systems respond to domestic abuse. This included leading a team of coordinators working in healthcare and child protection settings, as well as developing a health-based accreditation scheme. Most recently, Nicola completed her MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice, achieving a Distinction and award for best dissertation which focused on the impact of the Domestic Abuse Act on strategic partnerships in the UK.
Nicola joins the Safe & Together Institute as the European Training Delivery Specialist, working with the EU Lead.

Kay Stevenson


Coming off of an employment history of managing several small businesses in Connecticut and enjoying the growth and expansion process, Kay is a founding employee of Safe & Together Institute, having started with David in 2006. Now overseeing finance, human resources and technology, Kay balances her commitment to the company’s growth with hobbies of gardening and novel writing.

Mandy Rousselle


Mandy joined the Safe and Together Institute in February 2022 as a bookkeeper. She studied Early Childhood Develop at the University of Maryland European Division in Germany. Prior to working for Safe & Together, Mandy did bookkeeping, customer service coaching, admin support, and managed a transportation charity in Canada for several years.

Janet Penza


Janet joined the Safe & Together Institute in 2022. She has a long history of supporting executives to achieve their goals.

Kim Jurgens


Kim started at Safe & Together Institute in November of 2021. She holds a Diploma in Business (Australia) and Hotel Management (South Africa). She began her working career in South Africa working for a leading hotel chain in Event Management, Food and Beverage. She has lived and worked in South Africa, Australia, Singapore, Oman and the USA and has worked in both the private sector on large-scale events globally – including Hong Kong, Malacca, Zambia, Mozambique, and the USA and then working in a project management capacity for the not-for-profit sector in Australia (Australian Institute of Management). As the Training Delivery Project Administrator, Kim provides logistic support to the UK, USA and AU client leads.  She maintains the training calendar, is a point of contact for clients and faculty alike and is responsible for client correspondence
once training dates have been confirmed. Kim has a strong commitment to her community and has volunteered in suicide prevention in Australia and animal welfare in both South Africa and the USA.

Dorothy Striker

Dorothy Striker has over 25 years of professional experience in the field of child welfare and domestic violence. In a career that has spanned frontline casework to policy and program development, Dorothy has been involved in major family violence and differential response initiatives. Her areas of expertise include individual and family assessment, structured decision making and risk assessment, CAPTA related policy, practice model development and quality assurance case reviews. Dorothy has also participated in various levels of all three of the federal Child and Family Services Reviews in Ohio. Certified Safe & Together™ Model Trainer since 2010, she has provided multi-day training and case consultations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Casie Burke, MSEd, PC

Casie Burke, MSEd, PC, has been a trainer of the Safe & Together™ Model since 2012. She has experience training and working with child welfare agencies, as well as other community partners who support child welfare agencies (schools, domestic violence advocates, law enforcement, mental health/substance abuse counselors). She has over 10 years of experience working directly in child welfare, holding various positions including intake and assessment, visitation, parent education, and supervisor. Casie has provided consultation services within agencies surrounding the Safe & Together Model to staff, casework staff, and management. She participated in the National Quality Improvement Center on Child Welfare Involved Families Experiencing Domestic Violence Listening Tour, where she could voice the current state of conditions and challenges, and the potential direction for future research, investments and interventions. Casie is committed to providing training and support to professionals working with families and children surrounding the intersection of child welfare and domestic violence.

Beth Ann Morhardt

With over 20 years of experience in the domestic violence field, Beth Ann Morhardt has worked with both child and adult victims/survivors in many roles including Child Advocate, Children’s Community Educator, Adult Advocate, Shelter Services Director and Associate Director. After years of working in direct services Ms. Morhardt transitioned into a consultant role, serving as the Domestic Violence Consultant to Connecticut’s Department of Children & Families. In that role, she was able to build and maintain solid collaborations rooted in mutual respect, which resulted in the growth and development of Domestic Violence-Informed practice and skills to better support victims/survivors of domestic violence and their children. Within this role, working directly with perpetrators of coercive control became a focal point and passion within her work. Since 2016 Beth Ann has been a key member of the Faculty with the Safe & Together Institute, where she traveled throughout the US and internationally, collaborating with child protection workers and other community services professionals to increase their proficiency in Domestic Violence-Informed Case Practice. Currently, she works as the Associate Director at a domestic and family violence agency, overseeing shelter, housing, counseling, education and court advocacy services, while also serving as faculty with Safe & Together Institute. Inspired by the current social climate, Ms. Morhardt has returned to a more independent and multi-purposed career with a broader focus on social & racial justice & personal healing.

Beth Ann Morhardt

With over 20 years of experience in the domestic violence field, Beth Ann Morhardt has worked with both child and adult victims/survivors in many roles including Child Advocate, Children’s Community Educator, Adult Advocate, Shelter Services Director and Associate Director. After years of working in direct services Ms. Morhardt transitioned into a consultant role, serving as the Domestic Violence Consultant to Connecticut’s Department of Children & Families. In that role, she was able to build and maintain solid collaborations rooted in mutual respect, which resulted in the growth and development of Domestic Violence-Informed practice and skills to better support victims/survivors of domestic violence and their children. Within this role, working directly with perpetrators of coercive control became a focal point and passion within her work. Since 2016 Beth Ann has been a key member of the Faculty with the Safe & Together Institute, where she traveled throughout the US and internationally, collaborating with child protection workers and other community services professionals to increase their proficiency in Domestic Violence-Informed Case Practice. Currently, she works as the Associate Director at a domestic and family violence agency, overseeing shelter, housing, counseling, education and court advocacy services, while also serving as faculty with Safe & Together Institute. Inspired by the current social climate, Ms. Morhardt has returned to a more independent and multi-purposed career with a broader focus on social & racial justice & personal healing.

Danielle Martin, MSW

Danielle Martin has more than 20 years of experience working with children and families within child welfare, early childhood development and domestic violence settings. Her work with at-risk children and families has involved direct service provision, management and administration. She initiated her career in the field of domestic violence creating new programming, advocating for additional services and creating improved collaboration at a local level. She served on the Governor’s Task Force in Michigan for the prevention of child sexual abuse as a departmental representative. She has trained the Safe & Together™ Model in Michigan and beyond since 2015. Danielle has a Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis on child welfare. Danielle’s focus has been on the provision of trauma-informed care for families and children experiencing child welfare intervention. She has worked closely with community partners to integrate trauma information and practices into schools, mental health, child welfare and residential communities. Danielle has received the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services “best practice award” for her leadership in the development of local child trauma assessment programming.

Sarah L. Heuser

Sarah Heuser, MS, has nearly 25 years of experience working in the domestic and sexual violence field. Her roots are in direct service work with survivors in grassroots service agencies focused on crisis intervention, counseling-advocacy, outreach, support and program development. She also has substantial experience in training, prevention and awareness efforts and has worked with a broad spectrum of groups ranging from high school and college students to athletes, DV advocates, child welfare, law enforcement and the judiciary. Sarah has also served on multiple task forces and workgroups in Michigan to address policy issues. A substantial focus of Sarah’s work has been on the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare. Sarah was a strong early advocate for integrating the Safe & Together™ Model to Michigan and became a certified trainer for the Safe & Together Institute in 2015. Sarah has trained on the Model across the US and in Scotland.

Lisa Fleischer, MSW, LSW

Lisa began her career in child welfare in 2003. She has served in the role of caseworker and supervisor, working long-term with families as well as supervising an Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)/Alternative Response (AR) Unit. Lisa has also been training on the Safe & Together™ Model since 2010.

Lisa previously worked as a Social Worker in an emergency room at a local hospital and a Community Instructor at the Ohio State University College of Social Work. She has a Master of Social Work and is a licensed Social Worker.

Lórien Castelle

Lórien Castelle has been an activist and advocate for social justice focusing on ending gender-based violence for over two decades. She has had the honor of working with several national organizations across the United States including work as a trainer for the National Center on Domestic Violence, a prevention consultant to the National Resource Center on Domestics Violence, a trainer and consultant for Major League Baseball (MLB) and currently for the Safe & Together Institute.

While working as the Director of Prevention for the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, she was responsible for promoting best practices for preventing and responding to domestic violence and coordinating diverse stakeholders to design and implement community, regional and state-level initiatives. She also worked with the Pennsylvanian Coalition Against Domestic Violence to launch a statewide prevention initiative in Pennsylvania.

Ms. Castelle brings a wealth of experience with coaching, support and training to both domestic violence programs and allies. She has specialized experience with community organizing, organizational development and prevention strategies. In addition, Ms. Castelle has served on numerous national, statewide and regional committees and is a much sought-after trainer, meeting facilitator and keynote speaker.

Rhonda Dagg BSc, BSW

Rhonda Dagg has over 20 years of experience working in the child welfare field in a variety of roles including front line worker, supervisor and business analyst. In her current role as a CFS Program and Leading Practice Specialist, Rhonda is a passionate advocate for families affected by domestic violence and a strong supporter of staff who work with these families. She is also the media consultant for federally funded systems change project created to reduce gender-based violence and improve outcomes for children and families.

Rhonda has utilized the Safe & Together™ Model in her work since 2014, writing policies, coaching and mentoring staff and trains internationally for the S&T Institute.  In her personal time, she also creates educational material and videos for the community on gender-based violence and prevention.

Kristi Burre, MA

Kristi Burre began her professional career over 22 years ago in local and state government, community partnerships, and system transformation. Most recently, she served as the Director of Children’s Initiatives for Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, focusing on child well-being and driving improvements with communication and coordination across all state agencies providing services to children and families. In this role, she prioritized system enhancements and advancing policy with early childhood education, early intervention and prevention services, maternal and infant health, child physical and mental health, and children services. Kristi has vast experience collaborating with local, state, federal, and private sector partners to align efforts and investments to have the largest possible impact on improving outcomes for children, families, and communities.

Kristi has worked extensively in the child protection and foster care system in the capacities of caseworker, supervisor, manager, and director. In addition to her public service work, she has held various roles teaching, training, and coaching for the last 22 years, to include roles as a social and behavioral sciences adjunct instructor at Columbus State Community College, and a trainer and executive coach with the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program.

Kristi has been a Safe & Together Institute Senior Faculty and certified trainer since 2011 and is committed to guiding child and family serving agencies to become more domestic violence informed. She has trained professionals in North America, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom from various disciplines, to include child protection, domestic violence advocacy, law enforcement, education, behavioral health, juvenile justice, health care, and the legal community. She also coaches and mentors professionals from across the world involved with the trainer certification program and observes training sessions for evaluation, feedback, and approval for certification.

Additional leadership roles have included chairing the Ohio Governor’s Children Services Transformation Advisory Council and Eliminating Racial Disparities in Infant Mortality Task Force. Kristi has also held leadership positions and appointments for many other state and local entities committed to protecting children and strengthening families, including the Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Board, Ohio Children’s Trust Fund Regional Prevention Council, Ohio Intimate Partner Violence Collaborative, and Ohio Early Childhood Advisory Council. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, criminology and psychology from Capital University and a master’s degree in sociology from Ohio University.

Ashley Bowers, MSW, LSW

Ashley Bowers, MSW/LSW, has been a Trainer with the Safe & Together Institute since 2012. She facilitates training and consultation services around the Safe & Together™ Model for child welfare professionals. Ashley is a licensed social worker who has worked throughout the child welfare field for over eleven years. She has worked as a Child Welfare Intake Supervisor in both intake and ongoing departments. In addition to training on the Safe & Together Model, Ashley has utilized the Safe & Together Model directly with families as a child welfare professional, coaching and consulting on cases with domestic violence. She continues to be committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and families through practice changes through the Safe & Together Model.

Kari Akins

Kari Akins is the Assistant Deputy Director of the Office of Families and Children at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services responsible for state level administration and oversight of child and adult protective services.  Prior to this position, Kari was appointed to the Office of Children Services Transformation leading children services and foster care efforts in Ohio. With 20 years’ experience in the child welfare system, Kari has served in multiple capacities including screening, intake and assessment for direct service, and community response and outreach at an administrative level. In addition, Kari’s work has emphasized community collaboration and education regarding child maltreatment and trauma, the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare practice, and coaching/supervision in child welfare. In 2010, Kari began her work with the Safe & Together™ Model as part of a pilot county in a statewide rollout of the Model, allowing her to be at the forefront of this practice in her state. Kari has served as an advocate on numerous local and state-level workgroups to address best practice policy around Intimate Partner Violence while providing education and training at the state and national level as Faculty for the Safe & Together Institute.

Alison Simari

Alison joined the Safe & Together Institute in August 2021 as an Administrative Assistant for the Trainer Certification Program. Prior to this, she provided almost a decade of support to the Certified Trainer community at the Center for Nonviolent Communication in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Alison thrives in an environment where she can support the work of those positively impacting the world for the greater good. She is thrilled to be part of Safe & Together’s mission to be an agent of systemic change in the domestic violence field.

Minh-Chau Truong

Minh-Chau has been with the Safe & Together Institute since June of 2021 as the Virtual Academy Customer Experience Specialist. Her time with eLearning in the non-profit sector, with patients experiencing chronic pain and illness, and 15 years of customer service, back her lifelong goal of helping individuals pursue personal sustainability. Her goal at the Institute is to make the online learning process as easy as possible so that learners can focus on what matters most: maintaining themselves and peace at home.

Colleen Jameson

Colleen has 20 years of experience working at the intersection of mental health, domestic violence, and education. She has worked as an educator and advocate in DV shelters, teen safe houses, residential programs for at-risk youth, and programs for adults with disabilities. For the past 10 years, Colleen has worked in rural Mississippi with children and families impacted by mental health. She serves on the inaugural Board of the domestic violence shelter in Oxford, Mississippi. In 2010, she authored a curriculum that was awarded an Iowa Women’s Foundation grant for implementation state-wide. Colleen is passionate about making tools that equip individuals to be agents of positive change in the systems where they work and live.

Lindberg Chambliss

Lindberg joined Safe & Together Institute in June 2021 as Events Logistics Administrator. His  professional career includes over fifteen years of experience in live music event coordination and marketing, artist management, and tour logistics. As an activist with a focus on equity for youth and equity through education, he volunteers with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and participates in projects that advocate for systemic and equitable policy change in K-12 education. Lindberg is passionate about social justice, personal growth, love, art, and adventure.

Jacob Linzenbold

Jacob Linzenbold has been with the Safe & Together Institute Staff since March, 2021 and currently holds the title of Resource Development, Events & Evaluation Administrator. He works across the organization with each department to ensure that each team is on the same page and best serving survivors and advocates. Jacob graduated from Penn State University and has been involved with several start up companies, giving him the skill set necessary to help with the different aspects of the organization. Jacob excels in providing mentorship and advice to prospective business founders and enjoys teaching students. In his spare time, he enjoys going on adventures and exploring nature with his fiancé and their dog.

Dana Schmersal, MSW – Resource Development Specialist

Dana Schmersal has been involved in child and family policy and programs for nine years, most recently managing Safe & Together trainings for child welfare staff across the state of Ohio. She has worked directly with families impacted by the juvenile justice system, provided training for child support staff working with families impacted by domestic violence, advocated for women’s reproductive rights, and served as communications director for a state and federal child advocacy organization and taught as an adjunct professor for the Interdisciplinary Child Welfare Institute at Capital University Law School. Currently, she is a member of the Institute’s Resource Development Team and coordinates the certified trainer mentoring program. She has completed both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work as well as a B.A. in criminal justice and has made advocacy for vulnerable populations and improvements in community and system responses the focus of her macro practice.

Peju Thompson

Peju Thompson has been with Safe & Together Institute since July 2020 providing international accounting support for Safe & Together Institute’s business overseas.  Peju holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Rutgers University and a Master of Science Degree in Accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University.  Prior to working for Safe & Together, Peju was a staff accountant for both a mid-size CPA firm and in city-government. In addition to her diverse professional experience, she enjoys working with people and endeavors to always positively impact others.

Leah K. Vejzović, LMSW

Leah has been working as a social worker in the fields of child welfare and domestic violence victim advocacy since 2007. She has experience as a child welfare services provider, a domestic and sexual assault victim advocate, a therapist specializing in work with adult and child survivors and perpetrators, a men’s behavior change program facilitator and the coordinator of domestic violence training and response for the Department of Human Services in Iowa. Leah first became connected to the Safe & Together Institute during her tenure as state coordinator when she helped facilitate the implementation of the Safe & Together Model across the state. She came on board in 2020 as a Resource Development Specialist, creating DV-informed curriculum, eLearning and practice tools. She also worked to coordinate programming for our Events. Leah is passionate about equipping professionals with the tools they need to do effective work with families and engage in larger agency and systems change.

Ingryd Flores

Ingryd commenced her tenure at the Safe & Together Institute in June 2019. With a background in Social Behavioral Science, she furthered her education by obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in History from the University of California, Irvine. Proficient in Spanish, she possesses fluent speaking, writing, and reading skills in the language.

Her professional journey commenced at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), where she contributed to a national leadership program aimed at supporting and training Latino elected and appointed officials on pertinent issues. Here, she developed a passion for empowering the Latino community towards naturalization and active civic engagement. Concurrently pursuing her education, she earned a Paralegal diploma and subsequently served in roles focused on Criminal and Immigration Law, conducting comprehensive research on various legal matters.

Ingryd’s conviction in the transformative power of education is evident in her role as a Per Diem Substitute Teacher, where she fosters a positive learning atmosphere and nurtures students’ desire for knowledge.

Currently serving as the TCP and Technology Administrator, Ingryd delivers top-tier technological support, demonstrating adeptness in managing event registrations and facilitating pre- and post-event evaluations with finesse. She prioritizes effective communication with learners and participants, ensuring their comfort and engagement throughout online courses and event proceedings.

Shelly Napoletano Flynn, MSW

Shelly Napoletano Flynn, MSW began at Safe & Together Institute in July 2018 as the Trainer Certification Program Manager overseeing the Institute’s Certified Trainer Expansion. Shelly’s professional career includes over twenty years of experience in the field of child welfare with a dual focus on direct practice with children and families and systems-level social work practice. With the focus on children birth through age eight and their families, her career included direct service, case management and administration which included intersections with statutory child protection, juvenile and family courts, mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and local crisis response teams.

Shelly’s experience in systems-level practice involved projects such as the evaluation and development of a community’s local capacity to holistically serve its at-risk population of children and families. Additionally, she evaluated and reported on the state-wide supervision practices of Connecticut Certified School Social Workers. As a result of this research, Shelly served on the State of Connecticut Department of Education’s Task Force to develop and implement properly aligned and discipline-specific evaluation standards for school-based social workers in the State of Connecticut. Additionally, her work in systems practice led to the honor of being invited to present on local capacity development of a Birth through Age Eight Children and Family Initiative to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in Washington DC.

Anna Mitchell, Safe & Together United Kingdom Lead

Anna Mitchell’s interest in women’s issues began when she studied a degree in Geography with Gender Studies at Edinburgh University in 1996. After working in various women’s organisations she went on to gain her Social Work Masters and began to think about the importance of engaging with men who abuse in order to increase the safety of women and children. She worked as a Women’s Service Worker with the Caledonian System; an integrated approach to addressing domestic abuse combining a court-ordered programme for men, aimed at changing their behaviour, with support services for women and children. Anna co-authored the Caledonian System Women’s Service Manual and was seconded to the Equality Unit in the Scottish Government as a Professional Advisor to support the roll-out of this innovative system across Scotland. Since 2012, she has been employed as Domestic Abuse Lead Officer for Edinburgh’s Public Protection Partnership with the remit to help coordinate domestic abuse services across the council, police, health and the voluntary sector. Anna has completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Services Leadership and led a number of initiatives in Edinburgh to improve systemic responses, not only to adult and child victims but to domestic abuse perpetrators; including the development of auditing tools, improvement plans, service pathways, policies and training. In her current role, she is representing the Safe & Together Institute in the UK and is supporting the development and implementation of the Model across Great Britain.

Ruth Reymundo Mandel, Communications and E-Learning Manager

Ruth has been in training and implementation since 1995. Her career began as a middle school teacher in post-revolutionary Nicaragua. As a teacher in a developing, post-war country she became dedicated to issues surrounding social justice and violence. She later transitioned to higher education and worked at the Bryman School and at The Art Institute of Phoenix as an Assistant Director of Admissions. Her responsibilities included vetting prospective students and identifying barriers to enrollment and to matriculation.

After taking a break to raise her three children, she began working as a trainer and technical support for a national professional line nutritional company and an international professional line herbal company which trained medical professionals in alternative therapies.

In her role, she trained doctors and medical professionals in clinical application and was an ongoing support for successful implementation through patient outcomes. She developed systems for practice management, patient support, managed, created and promoted cyclical education events for clinical success. She developed training strategies to respond to a variety of real-time field challenges.

Ruth also worked as a professional business coach specializing in systems and practice management. Her dedication to understanding root challenges, institutional, structural and personal impediments that keep people from applying their skills and knowledge in a targeted and successful way helped many of her clients increase their business success.

Aside from her professional accomplishments, Ruth is a published poet, writer and public speaker. Ruth has worked with clients using various energy medicine and body-centric coaching techniques for trauma recovery. Drawing on her childhood experiences growing up in an abusive, religious cult and as a survivor, she is a fierce advocate for those who have experienced abuse. She is dedicated to helping survivors and allies understand behavioral coping mechanisms arising out of trauma and mitigating societal and personal judgments surrounding common human responses to violence and harm. This transformative approach helps those who have experienced violence and their allies better understand how to support, nurture and nourish survivors in a common-sense manner and without blame.

Brittany DiBella, MSW, DVS

Brittany DiBella has been with the Safe & Together Institute since 2015. Brittany has extensive experience developing curricula, e-learning content, and resources, as well as with providing consultation and training facilitation on the Safe & Together™ Model for a wide range of family-serving professionals. Brittany has over 10 years of experience in the field of domestic violence work including research and evaluation of New Jersey’s co-located advocate program; educating advocates, child welfare professionals and social work students on issues related to violence against women and children; direct-practice experience with survivors of trauma and interpersonal violence and work with adolescents impacted by violence. Brittany also served on New Jersey’s Child Fatality Review Board in 2017, is certified in Violence Against Women & Children from Rutgers University School of Social Work and is certified in New Jersey as a Domestic Violence Specialist.

Heidi Rankin, MPA – Associate Director

Heidi has over 30 years of experience in the sexual and domestic violence fields and social justice. She has worked in crisis counseling, program and policy development and advocacy in both the United States and Canada. Heidi received a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in domestic violence from the University of Colorado at Denver, the only program of its kind in the country. In her current role as Associate Director and North American Lead, she helps agencies navigate plans for systems change and supports efforts to build capacity through training and collaboration.  Heidi also oversees the Institute training staff, faculty and mentors, manages training for Certified Trainers and presents nationally and internationally.

David Mandel, MA, LPC – Executive Director

With over 35 years of experience in the domestic violence and child welfare fields, David is the creator of the Safe & Together Model, a transformational approach to changing how systems and practitioners respond to domestic violence when children are involved. He has identified how a perpetrator pattern-based approach can improve the ability to partner with survivors, intervene with perpetrators as parents, and improve outcomes for children.

David is the founder of the Safe & Together Institute, which works with governments and NGOs across the globe, including Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Through their live training, organizational consulting, e-learning, and trainer certification, the Safe & Together Institute provides organizations and systems with a wide range of practice change tools. Currently, the Institute supports almost 300 Certified Trainers and 80 Partner Agencies worldwide. The Model has proven its relevance to multiple sectors, including family court, substance use, law enforcement, mental health, multi-agency efforts, and other disciplines.

David has written or co-written numerous journal articles, book chapters, and white papers, including his most recent one on the alignment of the Safe & Together Model with the children’s best interest framework. The Institute’s work is regularly the subject of research studies, including a current project examining the relevance of the Model in a First Nation context in Australia. He has just published his first book, “Stop Blaming Mothers and Ignoring Fathers: How to Transform the Way We Keep Children Safe from Domestic Violence,” which is available online through Amazon.com.

journal articles on batterer’s perceptions of their children’s exposure to domestic violence, domestic violence case reading tools, and the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare practice. His chapter on “Batterers and the Lives of Their Children” was published in the Praeger Series Violence Against Women in Families and Relationships.