Policy & Advocacy Advisory Committee

The National Women’s Safety Alliance Policy & Advocacy Advisory Committee (PAAC) provides expert advice to the NWSA Director and informs and guides the delivery of the Alliance’s policy and advocacy program of work.


Heather Clarke (Chair of Policy and Advocacy Advisory Committee)

Heather Clarke has a Clinical Master of Social Work (Mental Health) and forty years’ experience working in community and mental health services, local and state government, and the sexual assault sector. In addition to having worked as a sexual assault service manager and counsellor, Heather has also worked extensively with victim survivors of family and domestic violence, providing both individual and group support as well as coordinating training in the provision of victim-centered care.

Heather was involved in the establishment of Victoria’s first women’s health centre, and for seven years served as Convenor of the Women’s Mental Health Network Victoria advocating for safer and more responsive mental health services for women.   Heather is a Board member of the National Association of Services against Sexual Violence and has represented NASASV on several national committees.

She is passionate about the need for adequate resourcing of respectful relationships education to prevent sexual violence.

Somali Cerise

Somali is a human rights and gender equality expert with 20 years’ experience leading gender equality policy and research initiatives across Australia and globally. Globally, she has been responsible for several major initiatives, including the OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index, UN Women’s global report on gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals, and the UN Secretary General’s 25-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. In 2021, Somali was the Director of the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces working with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Somali currently works on gender equality initiatives with the Champions of Change Coalition, UN Women, Elizabeth Broderick&Co and the University of Sydney. She is also engaged as a Gender Advisor to the Minderoo Foundation. Somali is a board member of ACON and has a BA (UTS) and a Master of Science (Human Rights) (London School of Economics and Political Science).

Amanda Alford

Amanda is the Director Government Relations, Policy and Evidence at Our Watch, a national leader in the primary prevention of violence against women.

Amanda is a human rights lawyer with a range of experience across government relations, strategic advocacy, governance and strategic planning, policy and law reform, and research.

Immediately prior to joining Our Watch, Amanda worked with Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins on the Set the Standard Report as part of the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces. Amanda has worked in roles at the Disability Royal Commission, the Australian Law Reform Commission, Community Legal Centres Australia and the Australian Government Solicitor, as well as in the not-for-profit sector both domestically and internationally.

Nicky Bath

Nicky Bath joined LGBTIQ+ Health Australia in August 2018 as Chief Executive Officer. She brings a wealth of experience from roles such as the Associate Director, LGBTI Health Programming and Development at ACON, Manager of the Harm Reduction and Viral Hepatitis Branch at the NSW Ministry of Health, as well as several senior positions in State and National drug user organisations including CEO of the NSW Users and AIDS Association.

Nicky is committed to advancing the health and human rights of marginalised communities through co-design and working in partnership.

Yvette Cehtel

Yvette Cehtel is the CEO of the Women’s Legal Service Tasmania.  She has a legal background having worked in private practice, government and in community legal practices over the last 25 years.  Yvette gained her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Tasmania, Master of Law (Human Rights) from Monash University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

Yvette is delighted to bring a gendered feminist lens and human rights framework to the table as we address gender inequality nationally.

Melissa Clare

Melissa Clare is the Executive Manager, Fairness and Financial Resilience at Westpac. She has almost 20 years experience in developing and managing strategic partnerships with community organisations and stakeholders to amplify and increase engagement for large organisations, and a background in media and corporate affairs.  Her work at Westpac aims to improve the experience and outcomes for customers experiencing vulnerability with a particular focus on preventing financial harm and addressing financial safety and resilience. Before joining Westpac she was responsible for community engagement at CBA with a focus on women’s safety and financial abuse. 

Melissa is committed to driving organisations to address gender inequality; and to recognise their part in eradicating gendered violence.

Hayley Foster (Chair of Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Working Group)

Hayley Foster is the Chief Executive Officer of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia and the Full Stop Foundation. With over 20 years’ experience in policy, practice and law reform, Hayley is deeply passionate about putting evidence into action and working collaboratively to address sexual, domestic and family violence. Hayley holds a Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance), Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and postgraduate qualifications in Social Sciences, Financial Planning, and Family Disputes Resolution.

Hayley currently holds a number of national advisory positions, including the Federal Government’s Advisory Group on the Successor Plan to the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022, the Australian Institute of Criminology’s National Advisory Group on the CEASE Program, and the National Advisory Board for Australia’s Child Maltreatment Study.

Helen Dalley-Fisher

Helen Dalley-Fisher is the Convenor of the Equality Rights Alliance (ERA).

Helen is experienced in a range of international human rights jurisdictions and coordinates ERA’s engagement on federal level policies in the areas of economic security and women’s leadership and public participation. ERA has a keen interest in primary prevention and aims to identify and capitalise on opportunities to promote primary prevention in its domestic policy work.

Helen’s background is in law, having spent 12 years as a solicitor in both private practice and the community legal sector.

Amanda Matthews

Amanda Matthews is a strong Yorta Yorta woman, an accredited Lifeline Crisis supporter with a Bachelor of Psychology and Law, as well as a trauma-informed victim-survivor advocate. She partners with Teach Us Consent, Refinery29 and With You We can on sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment campaigns.

Sally Moyle

Sally Moyle is an Honorary Associate Professor at The Australian National University, associated with the Gender Institute. Sally has had extensive experience in international development policy and practice, and almost twenty years’ experience addressing gender issues both domestically and in international development. Sally was the Chief Executive Officer at CARE Australia from 2016 to 2019, and prior to this was the Principal Gender Specialist and Assistant Secretary with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Sally has been in senior executive roles in the Australian Government since 2008, including DFAT, the Office for Women, and working on Indigenous Affairs and in Disability Care in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Sally was the Gender Adviser in AusAID between 2006 and 2008. Prior to joining AusAID in 2006, Sally had senior roles at the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Australian Law Reform Commission and practised as a lawyer.

Lisa Pusey

Lisa Pusey is an independent consultant on gender equality currently working with several organisations including Elizabeth Broderick & Co, the University of Sydney, and the Champions of Change Coalition leading the Coalition’s work on workplace responses to domestic and family violence.

Lisa has over 15 years experience working in law, policy and practice reform including as Advisor to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, roles in several international women’s human rights organisations overseas, and in community legal centres in Australia. Lisa is on the Board of Women’s Legal Services NSW and Women’s Fund Asia (Australia).

Padma Raman PSM

Padma Raman is the CEO of Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. Prior to her current role she was the Chief Executive of the Australian Human Rights Commission for 11 years, and before this established and was Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Law Reform Commission for nine years.

During that time, Ms Raman was a member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and was instrumental in assisting the Victorian Government develop and implement the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.

Ms Raman sits on a number of boards including the Human Rights Law Centre and the ANU Council.

She has a Master of Laws by research focusing on the experiences of immigrant and Indigenous women under the Australian legal system.

Annabelle Daniel OAM

As CEO of Women’s Community Shelters, Annabelle Daniel OAM, has worked with local communities around NSW to establish and open eight shelters at Hornsby, Forster, Castle Hill, Penrith, Bayside, Parramatta and Revesby.  She has also been instrumental in the ongoing success of the very first WCS shelter which opened in Manly in 2010. (Now known as Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter.)

She has collaborated with a range of organisations, individuals and stakeholders, from the community and all levels of government to achieve change in the field of homelessness for women and children.

Annabelle is continuing this work to establish further shelters throughout NSW and is currently working with the community in Camden to open shelter number nine in the WCS network.

Annabelle is also the Chair of DV NSW.

Vanessa Ambrose

Vanessa Ambrose is the Senior Program Manager leading delivery of the DV-alert program at Lifeline Australia. Over the past almost 30 years Vanessa has held senior leadership roles across clinical practice, health and human service delivery and digital service development contexts. Vanessa has supported the delivery of programs under the National Plan arrangements including the launch and initial stages of the 1800RESPECT service and more recently DV-alert.

Vanessa holds a Graduate Diploma in Nursing and Post Graduate Diploma in Health Science (Midwifery) as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Maternal and Child Health. Vanessa is an accredited and experienced Executive Leadership Coach with a passion for effective and trauma informed people leadership.

Heidi La Paglia

Heidi La Paglia is an Autistic young woman with disability, community activist and new mum. Heidi has worked at Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) since the beginning of 2019, in which time she has worked on and co-managed a number of projects and represented women and girls with disability at local, national and international levels.

Heidi is currently the Director of Policy and Advocacy at WWDA and has particular interest in ensuring that women with disability are included in all initiatives that aim to reduce violence against women.

Jacqui Watt

Since 2015 Jacqui has led No to Violence (NTV) through transformational change, growing and building quality services as Australia’s leading best practice organisation, and peak body for men’s family violence interventions.

NTV has established benchmark standards and training for individuals and organisations working to end men’s use of family violence.  It is over 25 years since NTV first opened its telephone call service and since then telephone workers have held 200,000 conversations.  NTV members across Australia provide men’s family violence interventions – including behaviour change programs aimed at stopping using violence.  NTV operates the men’s referral service which provides services for men seven days a week across Australia.

Jacqui holds an Honours degree in Social Policy from University of Edinburgh and a Masters in Management and Social Responsibility from Bristol University. Jacqui is also GAICD (Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors).