CEO: Robyn Cotterell-Jones
While VOCAL was established in 1989, Robyn joined VOCAL in 1994 as a victim of crime herself, then volunteered for several years to help others, to fight for change while trying to make sense of her own experience as a victim of crime and of the legal system. Using her extensive public and private sector management experience Robyn & the committee achieved funding and established the Victim Support Unit in 1998. Robyn’s experience of the system and the high personal price of trauma, her natural skill as a life coach, her work in advocacy and media brings a formidable strength and enterprise to her work as CEO of the Victim Support Unit. Her fearlessness, sense of humour, kindness underpin her determination to offer colleagues, staff, volunteers and clients alike, achievable strategies for positive change. In 2005 Robyn was awarded the Lifeline Newcastle Steel Magnolia Award (for a woman who overcame her ordeals and positively assists others), Life Member of VOCAL in 2012, and in 2016 was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her work at VOCAL. Now in her seventies, Robyn is currently on long service leave, taking a much needed break and enjoying time with family.
“We fight to great disadvantage when we fight with those with something to lose”.
Acting CEO: Kerrie Thompson
After spending ten years in the Australian Defence Force (Army), Kerrie made a career change and undertook a Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling). Coming from a trauma-informed perspective, Kerrie is committed to empowering clients through psychoeducation and believes that knowledge is the key in making informed choices. She loves exploring how the brain can be rewired after experiencing trauma. A passionate advocate for victims’ rights, she is also committed to ensuring victims’ voices are heard throughout Local and State Government settings. In her time off, Kerrie enjoys relaxing with her family, sipping coffee at the beach and remains in the Army Reserve.
Senior Victim Support Specialist: Vanessa MacDougall
After travelling the world for many years, Vanessa settled in Australia to pursue a career in herpetology (handling snakes) and became an Australian citizen in 2010. She soon discovered her true passion for working with people in trauma and has been practicing in the field since 2013. With training in Counselling and Trauma-Informed Care, Vanessa is an integral part of the Victim Support Unit and is dedicated to supporting clients experiencing complex post-traumatic stress disorder. She is also currently completing a clinical qualification in Resource Therapy. In her time off, Vanessa loves to exercise and swim in the ocean.
“The things that make me different are the things that make me” – Winnie the Pooh
Victim Support Specialist: Hannah Stenstrom
Hannah has experience working for NGOs in the mental health sector and has held both community development and case work roles. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) with a major in Government and is interested in social change. Hannah has a passion for understanding what makes people tick and loves getting ‘the system’ to work better for individuals. Her writing skills are vital to the VOCAL team in advocating for victims’ rights via NSW Government legislation. Originally from Sydney, Hannah never tires of exploring new sights around town with friends and family.
“The beginning is always today” – Mary Wollstonecraft
Victim Support Specialist: Brooke Ross
With 15 years corporate HR experience in Australia and overseas, and after a series of personal life changing events, Brooke made a decision to change her career focus and completed a Diploma in Community Services. With a passion for helping people, Brooke believes it is the way in which we choose to view life that can have the biggest effect on our health and well-being and is committed to supporting our clients on their own individual journey. Outside of work Brooke enjoys partaking in the many activities that make her feel happy.
Victim Support Specialist: Sarah Young
Sarah’s passion is to empower others to live the life they desire. She has experience working for NGOs in mental health and disability care and is currently finishing her Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). Sarah focuses on client-centered therapy and enjoys working with people to overcome personal challenges. Outside of work, she loves horse riding and volunteering for Riding for the Disabled. Sarah also enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending”. C.S. Lewis
Administration : Wendy Baugh
Wendy is an experienced high-level administration professional who has worked in both the private and public health sector. Known for her calm demeanor and gentle approach, Wendy is passionate about working in the non-for-profit sector and uses her highly-regarded organisational skills to keep the office in order.
Everything Finance: Selina King
Integral to the running of our service, Selina does an amazing job maintaining the finances for both our non-government organisation (the Victim Support Unit) and our registered charity division (VOCAL Inc. NSW). Selina is a registered Business Activity Statement Agent and runs her own successful business, Concise Accounting.
All things Computers: Innovative Computer Solutions
Dan the Man and his team at IC-Solutions provide staff with incredible service and speedy support when computer problems arise. Always there and always willing to help, IC-Solutions provides ever professional tech support for which VOCAL is extremely grateful.
“You see problems? IC-Solutions.”