Victorian Branch Management Committee
The AASW Victorian Branch Management Committee is made up of members elected from and by the membership.
If you are interested in making contact with the Victorian Branch President please email VIC.BranchPresident@aasw.asn.au directly.
To contact the Branch Management Committee members please contact the Victorian Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org who will forward on your email.
Alex is a social worker, human rights advocate and environmentalist.
Alex has worked with young people and families for 30 years in a wide range of roles, including in school counselling and health education, refugee settlement, child protection, local government youth work, housing and adventure therapy. In her most recent role, she coordinated refugee youth programs for a large Victorian NGO.
Alex has published and presented on climate displacement at UN forums and is active in the global climate justice movement.
Virginia Mansel Lees
Virginia is a lecturer in the Department of Social Work and Social Policy in the Rural Health School of La Trobe University based at the Albury Wodonga Campus. Most of her professional working life has been in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia where social work practice operates across many diverse trajectories. Her research interests revolve around identity in its myriad of forms. She is particularly interested in how a professional identity is developed and maintained throughout each person’s working life.
Andre brings to his social work practice experience knowledge, skills and attitudes drawn from Masters studies at the University of Melbourne in Social Work. He also has a Bachelor of Behavioural Science and qualifications in Education, Training and IT.
His professional experience references 14 years of child protection work in the community services sector with disadvantaged, marginalised individuals, families and communities and subsequently as project coordinator and consultant in the health and not-for-profit sectors. Wearing another hat, he has skills and experience in health project management, consultancy, community development and cross-sector partnerships and collaboration.
Andre has previously been a member the AASW National Social Policy Committee (2012-2015) and had input into the first AASW Reconciliation Action Plan (2013-2015). In 2016 he joined the AASW Family Violence Social Work Practice Group and also supports the work of VCOSS, ARACY, the Blue Knot Foundation and SNAICC. In 2017 Andre worked as a Research Assistant for the Research & Policy Centre of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence. Recently, he registered as an NDIS provider.
Melissa is a social worker, family counsellor and family violence advocate. Melissa has recently joined the Branch Management Committee, as well as currently being involved in the Family Violence Practice Group as a co-convenor. Melissa has been strongly involved in the Family Violence Reforms and MARAM Framework roll-out, facilitating training across metropolitan Melbourne. Melissa has a private practice in Bayside, assisting victim-survivors of family violence with counselling, advocacy and support, and is the Family Violence Training Co-ordinator for the Bayside Peninsula Integrative Family Violence Partnership. Melissa is passionate about supporting families who have experienced family violence and trauma, and uses therapeutic skills like client-centered practice, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, play and sandplay therapy.
Danielle has over 18 years social work experience working within Victorian public hospitals in both clinical and leadership positions. Her professional and academic skill set demonstrates excellence in contributing to social work models of care to optimise patient care, student education and translational research.
Aaron Garth is the Youth Studies Coordinator at Eastern College Australia and the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker.
Aaron has worked as a social worker in a number of settings including street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003.
Aaron holds a Master of Social Work (qualifying), Bachelor of Social Science (Youth Work), Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drug Work and a Certificate IV TAE.
He lives in Melbourne’s northern suburbs with his wife and five children.
Saly qualified as a social worker in 2005. Previously, Saly worked for The Department of Human Services. After some time away from paid work to focus on raising her five children, Saly has returned to university full time and is studying for her Masters of Public Policy. Saly hopes to take on future endeavours that are focused on advocacy and social action.
Kate has been a social worker since 1982, initially working as a medical social worker at the Royal Children's Hospital, Heidelberg Repat Hospital and private rehabilitation services. Working part time as she had three children in the 1990's and completed a MSW ( coursework) degree, Kate moved to community based positions, initially in residential age care and then an older persons’ housing program before starting work in a local government setting in the inner city delivering direct housing assistance, homelessness outreach and developing strong service networks, homelessness policies and advocating broadly to expand the inclusion of people with lived experience. Throughout this 22 years position as a Team Leader of Housing & Homelessness Services, she has supervised over 30 social work students in this setting either in direct service or project & evaluation work. Kate has also previous involvement at National level with the AASW Social Policy Committee and was Convenor 2008-2013. Kate has presented at a number of social work, housing and homelessness conferences locally,nationally and internationally and contributed to Parity (Journal of Council to Homeless Persons) on a range of issues.
Dan is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker currently working with children and families impacted by relational trauma (family violence and sexual abuse) and young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviours. Dan is passionate about offering a therapeutic approach underpinned by client-centred and strengths-based principles.
Dan has previously worked in residential care, Youth Justice and Child Protection and finished his Master of Social Work Studies (qualifying) supporting displaced persons from Burma in Thailand.
Dan has recently joined the Branch Management Committee and is keen to support the ongoing growth of the AASW as a voice for social workers and their collective professional identity.
Julian has a passion for mental health, addictions, grief and loss work. He graduated from RMIT with a Masters in Social Work and has a psychological science degree from University of South Australia. He has had experience in the fields of department of health and safety, forensic mental health and refugee minors. Previously tasked with researching the best practices of forensic mental health facilities and to decrease stigma of patients. He is a design thinker, neurolinguistics practitioner and experienced in hypnotherapy. The future is bright for social work and we owe it to the people we service to make it better. He is interested in combining gaming and mental health to make the interactive media more accessible to those that need it and to scale to use. Another avenue which interests him is in psychedelics and other breakthrough methods on how it may help addiction, abuse, connection, therapy and recovery.
Jaryd is a fourth year social work student studying at La Trobe University, Bendigo. He has ten years experience working in the disability and education field of practice and is currently working as a Men’s Key Worker at a family violence specialist agency. Jaryd is strongly driven by principles of gender equity, which is further demonstrated by his involvement in the founding, and continued development of the I Am Woman: Rural India project. Additionally, Jaryd is interested in Green Social Work Theory and it’s application at the community development and social policy level.
Contact the Victorian Branch
Level 7, 14-20 Blackwood Street
PO Box 2008
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Parkville Vic 3050
T: 03 9320 1000
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