Our Board

The Board of Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia seeks to build a collective sense of purpose and direction to enable the organisation to identify and meet its vision and mission. To achieve this the Board draws on the diversity of the community it serves and seeks members who have the skills needed to provide effective governance. Members of the current Board are passionate and committed women from different cultural and professional backgrounds all of whom believe it is every person's human right to live their life free of violence and when violence occurs it is their right to receive compassionate and skilled support from highly qualified professionals across all layers of the organisation.

Jane Gold – Chair




I have been working in Community Services for over 25 years. This has encompassed Women’s Refuge Work, Family Services Work and in the Women‘s Health arena.

My experience will provide Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia with skills and knowledge from an on the ground perspective as well as a Management experience.

My Board experience has been with WHNSW from 2011 ongoing.

These years of work range from Collective Structures to Management Structures, providing I believe a good balance of Feminism, Governance, Collaboration, Inclusiveness, Consensus and Respect.

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia needs this mix of leadership to continue on the path of supporting our Community in the critical work it provides 365 days each year.


Jane was elected to the Board as Chair on 8 November 2016.



Dianne Nilson - Secretary


Di was a child of “Whitlam” and attended Macquarie University in those halcyon days of the seventies graduating in 1980 with a combined degree in law and sociology (BA.LLB).  She completed the practical training course at the College of Law and was admitted to practice to the Supreme Court of NSW as a solicitor in December 1980.  Whilst at Macquarie University Di was a founding member of the Macquarie Legal Centre and later a founding member of the South West Sydney Legal Centre (previously known as Liverpool Neighbourhood Law Centre) where she was the first Principal solicitor of the Centre.

During the eighties Di conducted many outreach legal workshop programmes primarily under the auspices of the then mighty TAFE!  The workshops were held in school halls, a big red bus, community halls (and sometimes at TAFE colleges) throughout Greater Western Sydney.  The students were diverse and included isolated woman, indigenous women, unemployed youth and disadvantaged persons.  The purposes of the programme on one level was to teach people about their legal rights but probably on a more significant level to enhance social contact and self-esteem.  In the same period, Di co-ordinated the Young Women and Work Programme for Liverpool TAFE operating throughout South Western Sydney. The Programme encouraged young women to consider non-traditional areas of work.

 After leaving the Liverpool Neighbourhood Law Centre in 1989, Di moved into private practice and joined the litigation firm of Appleby & Nilson based in Parramatta. At the present time Di is the Principal solicitor of Nilson Legal which acts primarily in the area of business law.

Di is also on the Women’s Committee of Wests Tigers Rugby League Club and a member of the Wests Tigers Foundation, a charitable arm of the club.

Di was elected Secretary to the Board on 8 December 2016.

April Acheson - Treasurer

Comprehensive knowledge of R&DVSA finances, practices & procedures as its Hon Treasurer for 12 years from 2003-2015 during which time the organisation grew from a turnover of around $600,000 to the multi-million dollar service provider it is today; until a staff position was created, I was also the (volunteer) accountant.

Board member duties also included governance, efficiencies in service provision, grants, staff recruitment and other personnel/industrial issues, accommodation, liaison with external parties etc.

After retiring from full-time work at the PSA, April gained experience of (NSW) government procedures and practice whilst working on various occasions as relief electoral office for the Coogee electorate (2003-2009); also worked part-time at other NGO’s such as Aid Watch Inc (climate monitors action on aid, trade and debt in neighbouring third-world countries), and CANA (Climate Action Network)

Active unionist and feminist. In the 1980’s at UNSW had helped set up WINU & WITI to represent all women employees on campuses at universities in NSW. As a union representative, involved with all maternity leave, appeals, superannuation etc; as an elected

UNSW Councillor, had been involved in the governance of the UNSW as well as in the governance of any subsidiaries/organisations to which I had been appointed a director by the UNSW Council.

 April was elected to the Board on 8 December 2016.



Georgie Smart


Eleanor Campbell

Eleanor Campbell is a social justice advocate. She holds qualifications in arts, social sciences and business. She has worked in adolescent health and welfare and is currently a director of a small media company which campaigns for social change. She is currently completing a Master of Social Work.


Eleanor was elected to the Board on 8 December 2016.


Helen Campbell

Helen Campbell is the Executive Officer of Women’s Legal Service NSW, a state-wide specialist community legal centre for women. She is a lawyer with over 20 years’ experience in the community and public sectors. In addition to her legal qualification she is a Master of Women’s Studies and holds a Diploma in Frontline Management.

Previously Helen managed Redfern Legal Centre, and has also held a wide range of voluntary appointments including Chair of Community Legal Centre NSW, Director of NCOSS and consumer representative on the Council of the Energy and Water Ombudsman.

In 2011 Helen was awarded a medal in the order of Australia for services to the law and to the community of Redfern.


Helen was elected to the Board on 8 December 2016.

Gail Meyer


Having a long history of working in the women’s health sector I can contribute to effective governance through expertise, qualifications in management, community management, Human Resource Management and knowledge of the sector issues and challenges.


Being part of a feminist framework, we ensure women have contact details for R&DVSA to allow access to trauma informed services 24/7, thereby addressing gaps in services in a rural setting including out of hours access. This is an important aspect of the framework of R&DVSA as it progresses into the future.


Gail was elected to the Board on 8 December 2016.



Phillippa Dimakis OAM


Phillippa was a teacher and principal in government English programs for migrants for twenty-seven years and gained a wide knowledge of settlement issues, particularly where they pertained to women and families. She was a member of the Board of the Campsie Migrant Resource Centre for three years. She retired in 1996, and in 1999 was awarded an OAM for services to the migrant English program.


Starting in 2002, she was an R&DVSA board member for fourteen years and was chair of the board for eight of those years. She has a deep commitment to the provision of informed and compassionate services to people who have suffered sexual assault and domestic violence, and believes strongly in the importance of appropriate governance and strategic planning to support the effective delivery of services for those people.


”I see the development and maintenance of partnership within the women’s sector and with funding bodies and other funding sources and agencies as of crucial importance, and believe that the recruitment of well-qualified staff, the provision of equitable working conditions, the provision of effective training and development programs for staff members, and the maintenance of staff welfare, well-being, health and safety to also be of critical importance.”


Phillippa was re-elected to the Board on 8 December 2016.

  Dr Kate Gleeson

Dr Kate Gleeson is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Macquarie University with specialist expertise in civil and criminal justice for sexual violence, including child sexual abuse. Kate has a PhD in Politics and International Relations from UNSW and has previously served as an executive member of the Australian Political Studies Association. Kate’s professional background includes diverse roles in industrial relations, gender equality policy and child protection. Along with her two decades of experience teaching about gender, sexual politics and law in university classrooms, Kate has conducted workplace training in Australia, South East Asia and the South Pacific.

Kate was elected to the Board on 29 January 2019.



Eleanor Campbell


Eleanor Campbell

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Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia  I  ABN 58 023 656 939

PO Box 555 Drummoyne NSW 2047 | Tel 02 8585 0333 Fax 02 9555 5911

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