The Federation is a member-based organisation which employs secretariat staff to carry out the work of the organisation on a day-to-day basis.
Federation staff are responsible for:
- coordinating and facilitating the activities of the Federation's members;
- promoting cooperation and communication between Federation members, funding bodies and other relevant organisations;
- representing the views of member centres, and their communities, in a variety of forums, including state and federal governments, the legal sector and the media; and
- conducting a telephone information and referral service for the public.
Darren Lewin-Hill joined the Federation as Communications Manager in late April 2012. With more than 15 years’ experience in communications roles, he worked most recently as Media and Communications Coordinator for the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, where he coordinated the media response to the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children (Cummins) Inquiry. Earlier roles included communications for a national education project and not-for-profits including Australian Red Cross (Victoria).
Darren is committed to the community sector and to contributing his skills to build the capacity of organisations to advocate effectively for positive change, including through the use of social media.
For media inquiries
Mobile: 0488 773 535
Katie Fraser - Sector Development Manager
Katie Fraser joined the Federation of Community Legal Centres as Sector Development Manager in June 2014. Katie has seven years experience in community legal centres, where she has worked as a lawyer, community development manager and project manager at Footscray Community Legal Centre and more recently at the Welfare Rights and Legal Centre in the ACT where she managed the Street Law program. Katie has also worked with National Legal Aid and the American Bar Association, and brings a strong understanding of the CLC sector and an impressive track record in developing and delivering projects in a CLC or related context.
(03) 9652 1504 | Work days: Monday, Wednesday + Thursday
Cate Edwards - Sector Development Manager
Cate Edwards joined the Federation of Community Legal Centres in 2012 as the Accreditation Coordinator. She commenced as Sector Development Manager in June 2014. Cate comes from a background in the animal welfare sector where she has been working for the past 13 years. Most recently she worked in a similar role for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) where she was the Member Society Development Manager. This role involved undertaking organisational assessments and capacity development activites with member organisations in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Cate also spent 4 years with the Cat Protection Society of NSW, of which two were in the role of Executive Officer. Cate has several animal related qualifications including a Post Graduate Certificate in Animal Welfare and is currently undertaking a Masters in Not for Profit Management.
(03) 9652 1504 | Work days: Tuesday, Wednesday + Friday
Dr Chris Atmore - Senior Policy Adviser
Dr Chris Atmore is a Senior Policy Adviser at the Federation, Chris rejoined after a previous period of policy and law reform work with us. She co-leads the Victorian Family Violence Justice Alliance and the Australian Inquest Alliance, a recently formed campaign for national coronial reform. Her other main areas of work are sexual offences, mental health and disability.
Chris has worked on sexual assault and family violence issues as a university academic, and is the author of over 30 publications. She has volunteered and worked in the community legal sector for over 12 years, including as writer and editor with Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre, policy researcher with the Communications Law Centre, and board member for St Kilda Legal Service. In 2010-11 she was seconded to Victoria Legal Aid, as a mental health duty lawyer.
Michelle McDonnell - Senior Policy Adviser
Michelle has over 15 years experience working in legal practice, research, policy and reform roles across the community sector, Parliament, courts and government. Michelle joined the Federation as a Policy Adviser in 2010.
Prior to joining the Federation, she worked in a range of areas including criminal and coronial law. Her work before this was focused on responding to violence against women and children. During this time, she worked in a specialist sexual offences prosecution unit and in family violence law at Queensland Legal Aid. At the Federation she works Monday to Thursday on a number of criminal justice projects including the Smart Justice project and police accountability. She is the project manager and media spokesperson for Your Rights on Track.
(03) 9652 1507
Jen Missing - Accreditation Coordinator
Before joining the Federation, Jen worked as a freelancer in the primary health and community services sector with an emphasis on strengthening service quality and consumer focus. Jen has worked to build organisational and sector capacity through workforce and systems development, including 15 years experience as an Accreditation Reviewer. Her work has included training design and delivery, and project mentoring, including support for project design and evaluation.
Her background includes work with community and women’s health, aged care, disability, drug and alcohol, family violence, sexual assault, mental health, youth housing and juvenile justice services, state and local government and peak organisations.
The Accreditation Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) Accreditation Scheme for community legal centres in Victoria.
(03) 9652 1502 | Work days: Monday, Tuesday + Thursday
Emily Cousins - Project Officer
Emily joined the Federation as a part time Project Officer in September 2015. She has a background in the family violence sector, having worked as a Domestic Violence Advocate following completion of the Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne in 2013.
Throughout 2016, Emily will be working with Senior Policy Adviser, Dr. Chris Atmore to deliver the “Wanting Justice” project aimed at helping families bereaved by family violence-related deaths to effectively access legal and other assistance throughout the coronial process, including by building capacity in the legal sector.
Emily has extensive experience working and volunteering with a number of community legal centres and social justice organisations. Emily was admitted as a practising lawyer in November 2015.
Rohan Thwaites - Project Manager, Outcomes Measurement Project
Rohan joined the Federation in November 2015 as the manager of a project designed to help community legal centres better measure the outcomes of their work.
Rohan has a background in the community legal sector having previously worked as a community legal educator with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and as a mediator and mediation trainer with the Community Justice Centre in the Northern Territory. Rohan has also worked as a paralegal and policy officer with the Law Institute of Victoria and as a program coordinator in the international programs division of Australian Red Cross.
Work days: Monday, Wednesday + Thursday
Bonnie Renou - Senior Project and Policy Advisor
Bonnie joined the Federation in February 2016 as Senior Project and Policy Advisor on the Smart Justice project to organise a symposium on reducing Victoria’s prison population to be held in April 2016. Bonnie was previously a Community Legal Centre Law Graduate, which led to a 3 year family violence project position at Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre in Bendigo.
Prior to studying law, Bonnie completed a BA and MPhil in Criminology and worked at the Prisoners' Legal Service and as a welfare worker supporting those exiting prison.
Work days: Monday, Wednesday + Friday
Lakmini Welaratne - Finance Officer
Lakmini is the Federation's Finance Officer. She joined us in 2013.
Work days: Tuesday + Thursday