DFV Prevention Council members

Mrs Vanessa Fowler (Co-Chair)

Vanessa is the Chair of the Allison Baden-Clay Foundation and a wife, daughter, mother of 2 boys, and aunt to 3 beautiful young girls who tragically lost their mother in 2012. As a result, she and her family were thrust into public attention following the death of her sister, Allison, and they have turned a tragic situation into a positive example of making a difference in the community.

Vanessa is now on a journey to educate bystanders in the prevention of all forms of domestic and family violence and has also been instrumental in coordinating the annual Strive To Be Kind Day for the last 7 years, which started with a small committee of just 2 and has grown into a major event on the Foundation’s annual calendar. She is committed in everything that she does to make her sister proud, taking the grief and anger the family has suffered and turning such a tragic circumstance into a positive.

Mr Bob Atkinson (Co-Chair)

Bob served as the Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) for 12 years from 2000 until his retirement in October 2012. In a 44-year policing career, Bob served from Goondiwindi to Cairns in a range of roles, including as a prosecutor and 20 years as a detective. After his retirement from the QPS, Bob was appointed as one of 6 Commissioners of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which ran from 2012 to 2017.

Bob is currently serving as Chair of Queensland’s 9-member Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce, helping guide implementation of reforms arising from the Royal Commission. In 2018, Bob was appointed as a Special Advisor to the Queensland Government to examine and report on a range of youth justice matters. In 2019, Bob was honoured as a Queensland Great in recognition of his continuing service to the Queensland community.

Mrs Lynette (Lyn) Anderson

Lyn is a Gangaalu/Bitjarra woman from the Central Queensland region. She has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Helem Yumba Central Queensland Healing Centre, based in Rockhampton, since 2005. The Centre uses a range of traditional and cultural healing programs, as well as western clinical therapies, to heal and strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing issues with violence, alcohol and other drugs, and family dysfunction.

Lyn has a career background in vocational and tertiary education, having worked at Central Queensland TAFE College and then for 12 years at Central Queensland University, including as Head of Department of Indigenous Education and Student Support.

Lyn previously worked in community engagement with the Fitzroy Basin Elders, taught business studies at the Central Queensland TAFE College and previously worked in the tertiary education sector at Central Queensland University first as a Research and Development worker and in her final three years as Head of Department of the Indigenous Education and Student Support.

Mr Saliman Bin Juda

Saliman was born and raised on Thursday Island and family and kin are his first priority. He currently leads a team of Family Support Workers with the Mura Buai Family Wellbeing Service providing prevention and early intervention support to build the capacity of families residing in the 15 Torres Strait Island communities to safely care for and protect their children. The Service is auspiced by Mura Kosker Sorority in partnership with the Benevolent Society.

Saliman has worked in frontline family support and child protection roles since 2014, including as a Recognised Entity to help Child Safety Services and the Childrens Court to make better decisions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people by taking cultural matters into account. As a result, Saliman has gained a deep understanding of family dynamics in the Torres Strait, and of the issues and concerns of his people and Torres Strait Island communities. This drives Saliman’s passion to ensure his people’s voices are heard and, above all else, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children remain within Culture and Family. Professionally and personally, Saliman advocates and works to ensure services make the best decision and placement for Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander families and children.

In 2018, Saliman was awarded the inaugural Child Protection Youth Advocacy Award by the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak for his work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. In 2016, he won the 2016 Torres Strait NAIDOC Youth of the Year award.

Mr Trevor Black

Trevor was Queensland’s longest serving Magistrate before retiring in 2021. Although appointed in 1990, Trevor had served as an acting Magistrate in Thursday Island, Southport and Brisbane for 10 years previously. Trevor was previously a Coroner, and until recently convened the Cairns Murri Court.

Trevor has lived or worked in and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for most of his career, including as Clerk of the Court on Thursday Island. He convened Murri Courts from their early inception in 2002, and helped establish the Torres Outer Island Court Circuit.

Trevor has an abiding interest in Indigenous justice issues, and is a passionate advocate for the benefits of the Murri Court. He worked closely with the Cairns-based Amaroo Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders Justice Group, and collaborated with the Thursday Island Community Justice Group, various Justice Groups through the Torres Strait and the Justice Groups of the Northern Peninsula Area, centred in Bamaga.

Ms Penny Carr

Penny is the Chief Executive Officer of Tenants Queensland, where she has worked since 1998. Penny has worked for over 25 years in the community sector and has a keen interest in social policy. The main focus of her work has been with homeless young people, in youth affairs broadly and housing and tenancy.

Penny convenes the National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO) and is currently the contact for the International Union of Tenants in Australia. Penny has a Bachelor of Social Work, a Graduate Certificate in Housing Management and Policy, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Ms Brigita Cunnington

Brigita has over 20 years' experience in the justice portfolio working in various legal, policy and management roles. Brigita practiced in native title law including at Crown Law and has been employed in various roles in Queensland Courts since 2006 including as Director of the Office of the State Coroner (now the Coroners Court of Queensland) and Director of the Courts Innovation Program. Since 2016 Brigita has been Executive Director, Magistrates Courts Service within the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. In this role Brigita is responsible for leading court administration to ensure the effective and efficient operation of Magistrates Courts across Queensland.

The role is also responsible for the Coroners Court of Queensland and the Courts Innovation Program incorporating specialist courts and intervention programs and programs focussed on access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander court clients and the Community Justice Group program. Brigita has had oversight of a major program of court reform in response to the Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland report including the successful trial of a specialist domestic and family violence court in Southport and rollout of a specialist approach to other locations.

Brigita has also been responsible for establishing other specialist court programs including Murri Court, the Queensland Drug and Alcohol Court and Court Link. Brigita was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2000. In 2017 she completed the Australian and New Zealand School of Government Executive Masters of Public Administration.

Ms Rachel Durdin

Rachel is a high-profile champion of diversity at Rio Tinto, who has progressed major changes to policy, and has helped steer the company to become a global business leader in domestic and family violence issues. Rachel’s advocacy work has measurably improved outcomes for women in resources, other Australian businesses and the communities in which Rio Tinto operates.

In her role as Chief Advisor, Social and Stakeholder Engagement, Rachel is leading the company’s domestic and family violence response, which includes becoming the first Australian global mining company to achieve White Ribbon workplace accreditation. In 2018, Rachel was named Gender Diversity Champion at the 2018 Women in Resources National Awards. Rio Tinto also won the Award for Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance for their work in domestic and family violence.

Ms Faiza El-Higzi OAM

Faiza El-Higzi OAM is a political scientist and recognised social advocate for her work as a social change expert. Her professional experience includes strategic policy at both state and federal levels and refugee advocacy. Currently Faiza's focus is on gender and social inclusion. Sitting on a number of community organisation boards, Faiza volunteers her expertise at an executive level to build institutional capacity.

Internationally, Faiza has worked with community organisations and academic institutions to build capacity and raise awareness of the intersection of gender rights and cultural norms. Faiza holds a number of postgraduate qualifications.

Ms Dianne Fletcher

Dianne is the Chief Executive Officer of Sarina Russo Job Access, one of the largest Australian-owned private sector employment and apprenticeship services providers with over 100 sites in Queensland, Victoria, ACT, South Australia and New South Wales. Before joining the Sarina Russo Group in 2014, Dianne spent 30 years in the employment and training sector in the Australian Public Service, including 12 years in the Senior Executive Service. Dianne played a lead role in the design and implementation of the welfare reform activities in Cape York. She also negotiated the Regional Partnership Arrangement for the Western Cape area designed specifically to create sustainable employment opportunities.

Dianne’s passion is to support disadvantaged Queenslanders into work to help them become economically independent.

Miss Karni Liddell

Karni is a disability specialist and a National Disability Insurance Scheme Ambassador and Advisor for Queensland. She wears many hats, including clinical social worker, diversity trainer and assessor, radio broadcaster, television presenter and public speaker. Karni is currently working in the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors as the Manager, Engagement, Disability Connect Queensland. Karni is also a member of the Queensland Government Sexual Violence Roundtable.

Karni was diagnosed with a neuro-muscular wasting disease at birth. She went on to become a champion swimmer, breaking her first world record at 14 years of age, winning medals at every Paralympic Games she competed at, and she regards captaining the Australian Paralympic Swim team at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games her greatest sporting achievement. Karni has also won a range of other awards, including Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Health Outstanding Alumni Award (2015), Queensland Training Awards VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year (2014) and Pride of Australia Medal (2014).

Karni holds a Clinical Master of Social Work (QUT), a double Degree in Communications (Bond University) and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. She is an Ambassador for a range of organisations, including the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association, Muscular Dystrophy Qld and Montrose Access. Karni is dedicated to mentoring young people and changing perceptions of people with disability.

Dr Wendell Rosevear OAM

Wendell is a General Practitioner and trainer, and Director of the Stonewall Medical Centre in Brisbane. He has worked in the areas of prisoner health, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, suicide prevention, rape and sexual abuse, counselling, HIV/AIDS, and gay, lesbian, intersex and transgender health. Wendell is the founder of the Gay and Lesbian Alcohol and Drug support group (GLADS), the Men Affected by Rape and Sexual Abuse support group (MARS), and co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Health Service.

Wendell is the recipient of various awards, including Brisbane Citizen of the Year (1996), the Australian Medical Association National Award for Best Individual Contribution to Health Care in Australia (1996), the David Kopp Memorial Award for Service to the Gay and Lesbian Community (1996), and an Anti-Violence Award for Work with Male Victims of Sexual Assault (1997). Wendell believes passionately in the value of each person and in nurturing honesty to deal with life’s issues. His life motto and aim is “…to make Love infectious”.

Mr Andrew Taukolo

Andrew is an Australian male of Tongan descent who coordinates the YFS Men4Respect program and is a youth ambassador for the broader award-winning R4Respect program. R4Respect and Men4Respect use a peer-to-model to support young people to develop the values, knowledge and skills required to build respectful relationships. Andrew is also a Case Manager for the YFS YouthLink program, working with young people aged 12 to 21 years who are disconnected from schooling, work and their families. Andrew graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice. As a member of Griffith Logan University's premiership winning Redbacks Rugby League Club, Andrew initiated a partnership between the Redbacks and R4Respect resulting in R4Respect sponsorship branding on the Redback's jersey.

Andrew has presented at a range of national and international conferences on gender-based violence, and violence in relation to young people. He was also a member of the Policy Advisory Group for the National Communities Attitudes towards violence against Women Survey which is led by Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS).

Ms Karyn Walsh AM

Karyn is the Chief Executive Officer of Micah Projects, a non-for-profit organisation providing services across the Brisbane metropolitan area to over 6000 people experiencing poverty, domestic and family violence, social isolation, adversity and trauma impacting their health, wellbeing and community participation. Karyn has worked in the community services sector for over 40 years in direct service delivery, management, governance, collective and collaborative work and has contributed to national, state and local Boards. She is a member of the Queensland Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce, and the Sexual Violence Prevention Roundtable.

Karyn is trained as a registered nurse, and in 2016 was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Social Work and Nursing by the University of Queensland. She has been involved in a range of projects including homelessness partnerships, inclusive health partnerships, the work of Lotus Place (a dedicated support service and resource centre for people who experienced abuse in an institutional setting), mental health and disability services and domestic and family violence services.

Ex-officio members

The Council also includes ex-officio members representing the following Queensland Government agencies with DFV reform responsibilities:

  • Department of the Premier and Cabinet
  • Department of Justice and Attorney-General
  • Department of Education
  • Queensland Health
  • Queensland Police Service.