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Our Board

Shirley Southgate, Chair

Shirley Southgate joined the Board of Women's Legal Service Victoria in November 2014. Shirley is the Director - Legal at the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). In addition to working in the not-for-profit sector, Shirley has held voluntary Board positions with a range of not-for-profit organisations since 1995. Prior to working at the ACNC, Shirley was Manager - Programs, and Manager - Policy and Good Practice at the New South Wales Information and Privacy Commission, where she managed the review and investigation, compliance, and policy and education teams. Shirley has an Executive Masters of Public Administration. She was admitted to legal practice in early 1996 and has worked as a solicitor at legal aid, community legal centres and in private practice in Western Australia and New South Wales. Shirley joined the WLSV Board in November 2014.

Ruth Barson, Deputy Member

Ruth Barson has worked over the past eight years in the areas of criminal law, policy and human rights. She is currently a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre where she focusses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' rights and strategic litigation. She previously worked as a senior policy lawyer at the Centre for Innovative Justice, where she researched and reported on innovative ways of improving the criminal justice system’s response to sexual assault. Ruth has also worked as a criminal lawyer with Victoria Legal Aid, and spent four years working with the Aboriginal Legal Services in the Northern Territory. She is currently completing a Masters of International Human Rights Law. Ruth joined the WLSV Board in September 2014. 

Alice Chiew, Treasurer

Alice Chiew is a senior strategy and marketing professional with almost 20 years’ experience in financial services, oil and gas, consulting and retail at ANZ, Accenture, BP Australia, Guild Insurance and BankWest.  Her stint at Accenture saw her work with global brands such as AXA, Shell and Standard Chartered in Australia and Asia.  Her marketing experience extends to retail marketing, business to business sales and marketing, brand strategy, re-branding, market research, segmentation and most recently, digital marketing.  Alice joined the WLSV Board in March 2015.  

Kelly Hinton,  Secretary

Kelly is a qualified social worker with extensive leadership and management experience in the not for profit sector.
She has specialised in work alongside women and girls, including women experiencing family and intimate partner violence, women in the sex industry, women who have been trafficked into Australia, and young people who have been in prison. Kelly is passionate about sharing her knowledge and women’s lived experiences to advocate for systemic change. She has published opinion pieces highlighting issues of violence against women, collaborated with Australian, United States and South Korean governments to address trafficking of women, assisted in the development of a Post Graduate Certificate in Family Violence and features in a training package created by the Australian Federal Police in partnership with Victoria Police.Kelly is currently completing a Juris Doctor.

Caroline Gowan, Member 

Caroline Gowan is a financial services professional with experience across strategy, corporate finance and business development.  Caroline has worked in both the UK and Australia, and presently works for ANZ as a leader in the Small Business Banking unit.  Caroline has been a member of the WLSV Board since October 2012 and was appointed Treasurer and Chair of the Audit & Risk Sub-Committee in December 2012.

Tina Lavranos, Member 

Tina is a human resources consultant with over 15 years’ corporate legal and general management experience. Tina has held positions as an industrial relations lawyer, executive educator and coach and HR executive in Australia and Asia in the professional services and banking sectors. Tina has also worked extensively with not for profits throughout her consulting career and is passionate about the goals and values embodied by WLSV, having worked with the organisation on a pro bono basis since 2014. Tina is legally qualified in Australia and is currently pursuing a Masters in Management (Organisational Dynamics). Tina joined the WLSV Board in December 2015.

Sophie McNamara,  Member 

Sophie McNamara is a Senior Associate and Manager of Pro Bono at Gadens. Sophie is a passionate human rights advocate with specialist knowledge in children's rights, community law and humanitarian migration.Sophie has extensive experience in not-for-profit governance and is particularly passionate about working with indigenous organisations to upskill and strengthen their boards. Sophie holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University and she is currently studying a Master of Business Administration with Deakin University. 

Maryum Chaudhry, Member

Maryum Chaudhry was previously a Commissioner at the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the Vice-President of Islamic Council of Victoria and CARE With ME (foster care). She is passionate about advocating for women, youth and initiating change. Her commitment to multiculturalism has been demonstrated in her local and international representation at the 6th Regional Interfaith Dialogue Conference, exchange programs to Malaysia and Indonesia, and as a member of many multifaith advisory committees. She is an AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador and an  Leadership Victoria Alumni (Williamson Community Development Program). She has a Bachelor of Business at RMIT University, Executive Masters of Arts at University of Melbourne, and previously worked for the Australian Taxation Office (Public Groups & International and ATO Finance).
Last year she decided to go abroad to Jordan for one year to learn, travel, explore and follow her dreams. She is currently the new ICV Youth Engagement Officer and is re-energised, excited and ready for whatever comes next! 

Joanna Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer

Joanna has been working on issues arising from relationship breakdown and violence against women for over 15 years. Prior to commencing as CEO of Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) in April 2010, Joanna managed WLSV’s policy and advocacy work. She was also the national law reform coordinator and national spokesperson for Women’s Legal Services Australia. Joanna is a member of the Statewide Family Violence Advisory Committee and has been a significant contributor to family violence and family law policy reform. Joanna has also worked as a Senior Researcher (Family Violence) at the Judicial College of Victoria and as a Senior Advisor in the Family Violence Reform Coordination Unit in state government.


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What's News

Cutting funding to family violence services costs lives and money

15 February 2017


Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) is in Canberra this week lobbying MPs and Senators from across the aisles to reverse upcoming funding cuts to the service.   Media release can be read here 


Rosie Batty distressed by funding cut to WLSV

9 February 2017


Victoria’s only specialist women’s family violence legal service has been devastated by a funding cut despite soaring family violence figures in the state.

Media release can be read here


Funding cuts

21 December 2016


Women’s Legal Service Victoria is devastated to learn that we face $200K funding cut from the federal government in July 2017.

Media release can be read here.