about us


WDVCAS NSW is the peak, state-wide body representing the 29 individual WDVCAS services that operate across New South Wales supporting women and their children who are experiencing domestic violence.

We are an independent voice for our members, who are the 29 WDVCAS services and their clients, as well as associate members. We operate from a human rights and feminist perspective to support better outcomes for women and children experiencing domestic violence. We identify and advocate on domestic violence issues within social, political and legal contexts, at both state and national levels.

WDVCAS NSW was established in 1995 as in informal network. Since 2011 the organisation has operated independently from Legal Aid NSW with a board appointed Director.

WDVCAS NSW Inc is funded by Legal Aid NSW through the Women Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP).

Click here for more information about WDVCAP.


Our Vision and Purpose

Our vision is for a just community, where women and children live a life free from violence.

We are informed by a feminist analysis of power and recognise domestic and family violence as a crime and a violation of the human rights of women and children.

WDVCAS NSW will continuously work at a systemic level to improve service delivery to our clients through identification of issues affecting their access to justice and services, and via collaboration, discussion, consultation, research, submissions, and formulating recommendations in reform.

The purpose of WDVCAS NSW is to:

Our Guiding Principles

WDVCAS NSW is founded on a human rights approach, which:


Strategic Directions

The WDVCAS NSW Strategic Plan (2015 - 2018) is designed around the following objectives:

1. To identify and advocate on domestic and family violence issues with a focus on systemic policy and law reform;

2. To produce high quality policy documents, submissions and independent research that is circulated widely;

3. To draw upon the expertise of our members and in turn, to provide high quality professional support to them;

4. To develop strong partnerships and work collaboratively with our stakeholders; and

5. To be a well governed and managed association with an expanded funding and membership base.

To achieve our vision and objectives, we will focus on three key result areas:

Key Result Area 1:  Evidence based advocacy

Since WDVCAS NSW Inc. was incorporated, undertaking systematic policy and law reform work has been the key aim of WDVCAS NSW Inc. We intend to intensify our advocacy efforts by engaging with our membership to draw upon their unique and specialist expertise to inform the ongoing policy and law reform agenda. A key ongoing strategy will be to develop collaborative relationships with key stakeholders at the state level, including members of parliament, government agencies, police, courts, other peak organisations and state wide service providers.

Key Result Area 2:  Supporting our members
A key objective for the 2015-2018 period will be to draw upon the expertise of our members and provide high quality professional support to them. This will become increasingly important as the WDVCASs progressively become hosts of the Local Coordination Points. This work will be central to the success of all the work undertaken under key result area 1.

Key Result Area 3:  Good governance and management
WDVCAS NSW Inc. is a relatively new organisation (established in 2011) and the need to continuously find ways to strengthen the governance and management of the association remains a key priority. We aim to build the governance capacity of the Board of Directors and staff to ensure they can fulfil all their obligations to achieve the organisation’s aims and objectives.

For copy of 2015-2018 WDVCAS NSW Strategic Plan click here.


Our Constitution

For a copy of the current WDVCAS NSW’s Constitution click here.


Board of Directors

WDVCAS NSW is governed by a Board of Directors. The members of WDVCAS NSW elect the members of the Board of Directors each year at the organisation’s annual general meeting. The Board meets at least five times each calendar year face to face and through teleconference facilities for regional and rural members.

The current board is:

Chair:   Tanya Whitehouse 

Tanya Whitehouse was the chair for WDVCAS NSW from 2011-2015 and again from 2017. Tanya has been the coordinator of Macarthur WDVCAS for many years and also sits on a number of Domestic Violence Committees in her area. Tanya is passionate about the critical role that WDVCASs have in supporting women experiencing domestic and family violence.

Vice Chair:    Kellie Young

Kellie Young  has worked in domestic violence specific roles for approximately eighteen years and joined the board of WDVCAS NSW Inc. in 2017. Kellie has been employed as the SAM coordinator at Northern Rivers WDVCAS since 2015, and attends court weekly as a court advocate. Kellie previously worked as a Regional Coordinator and trainer with the Education Centre Against Violence. Kellie brings a regional focus and a large level of experience to her role as vice chair.

Secretary: Helen West

Helen has been with Wagga WDVCAS since 2007, has come up the ranks to be Coordinator. Helen and her team have been activists for women who have been victims of Domestic Violence. Helen’s training includes training in case management, counselling, leadership skills and mental health. She has always been involved in community engagement and is often invited to speak at many regional services, forums and meetings, which has meant she is well trained in public speaking. Helen has chaired the local domestic violence liaison committee for over ten years and through the committee has helped organise regional forums and marches. As part of her commitment in supporting local areas she has facilitated smaller outreach towns to start their own domestic violence liaison committees. Helen has always been a strong and outspoken supporter of gender based issues, she is often speaking to local politicians and high ranking officials to help better raise these issues. Helen’s goal is to continue being an advocate and a voice for women experiencing domestic violence.

Ordinary Member:  Tamara Briggs

Tamara is an Aboriginal woman with a range of experience in Family and Domestic Violence. Tamara is the Aboriginal specialist worker and current coordinator of North Western WDVCAS. Tamara has a Cert IV in Aboriginal Family Health, a Cert IV in Family, DV, Sexual Assault and Child Protection and a Cert IV in Workplace Assessment and Training. Tamara is the Aboriginal specialist worker for Northwest WDVCAS and acting coordinator. Tamara has a long history of working in Aboriginal organisations and has extensive community networks. Tamara sits on a Management Committee for a Family Violence unit in Moree as well as the local DVAT committee. Tamara brings to WDVCAS NSW Inc. a wealth of professional knowledge including specialist knowledge about Aboriginal communities experiencing family and domestic violence and a rural perspective of the WDVCAS’.

Ordinary Member:   Sarah Priestley

Sarah joined the WDVCAS NSW board in 2017 as an ordinary member. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) from Charles Sturt University and is currently completing an Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management from TAFE. Sarah has two years experience working with WDVCAS and has previously managed an After School Care service.

Sarah is passionate about supporting women and provides insights to advocacy work, particularly women in regional and rural NSW.   

Ordinary Member:   Louise Williams

Louise Williams has been the Coordinator of the South Coast WDVCAS for the past two years and joined the WDVCAS NSW board in 2017.  She is passionate about advocating for the rights of women and children who experience domestic violence. Louise has worked in domestic violence for the past eleven years in a number of key areas; education programs, crisis services, counselling, case management and advocacy. Louise has extensive community networks and sits on the local Domestic Violence Committee and Family Law Pathways Network Steering Committee. 

Board of Directors – Special Advisors

There are two special advisors to the Board of Directors. The Special Advisors provide a vital link to the Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) specialist worker networks to ensure the Board’s work is informed by their unique experiences and to ensure the Board membership reflects the diversity of WDVCAS workers.

CALD special advisor: Silvana Benditti

Silvana Benditti became the WDVCAS NSW CALD special advisor in 2017.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander special advisor: Lisa-Kate Gall

Lisa-Kate Gall became the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander special advisor in 2017.

Our Director

The current Director is Renata Field, who assumed the position of Director of the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service NSW in 2015. Renata holds a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Sydney and brings to the organisation more than ten years experience working in the not-for-profit community sector.

Renata began working with women who had experienced trauma at Guthrie House in 2013, then moved into a case work position at a specialist domestic and family violence refuge in 2014. Renata has also worked as a researcher for the Education Centre Against Violence and for WDVCAS NSW.

Renata is committed to advocating for the needs of women and children experiencing domestic and family violence and to improving the service delivery offered to women through high quality, accessible, well-funded, specialist services.

About Legal Aid NSW / WDVCAP

Legal Aid NSW funds 29 Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services through the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP).

The WDVCAP was formally established in 1995 with funding from the NSW Government. The aim of the WDVCAP is to assist women and children experiencing domestic violence to obtain legal protection through an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO).

The aim of the WDVCAP is to provide a holistic service which:

More information on the WDVCAP can be found on the Legal Aid NSW website at http://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/what-we-do/community-partnerships/womens-domestic-violence-court-advocacy-program

WDVCAP also provides funding to WDVCAS NSW to enable the organisation to act as an independent association representing WDVCAS workers.  For more information on the relationship between WDVCAP, the 29 individual WDVCASs, and WDVCAS NSW click here.

Each of the 29 individual WDVCASs are funded by Legal Aid NSW through the WDVCAP.  For more information on the role and goals of the WDVCASs click here.

If you are in danger, please call 000 (Australian emergency number), or 1800 WDVCAS (1800 938 227) (24hr domestic violence counselling)

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