Our board

Our board and governance  


Our Board is responsible for ensuring Women’s Legal Service Victoria delivers quality services and legal reform that benefits women and their children.

Jane Welsh Board

Jane Welsh (she/her)


Jane has been working in leadership roles within law enforcement for over three decades. She is a passionate lifelong learner, directing her skills and experience in pursuit of fairness and equity in our community particularly as they concern women and children. Jane’s interests also include applied ethics and moral philosophy, most particularly their role in decision-making and critical thinking. Jane’s academic achievements include a Doctor of Policing and Security, Master of Leadership and Management (Policing), and Master of Ethics and Legal Studies.

Laura John Board member (2)

Laura John (she/her)

Deputy Chair

Laura has worked to defend the rights of migrants and refugees for much of her career, using strategic litigation, policy and public advocacy. She has experience across the community legal sector, including at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the Women's Legal Centre (ACT). She currently works in migration justice at the Human Rights Law Centre. Laura commenced her legal career at Australian Government Solicitor and was previously Counsel Assisting the Victorian Solicitor-General, Rowena Orr KC.

Rochna Banerjee Board member (1)

Rochna Banerjee (she/her)


Rochna is passionate about the rights of women from migrant and multicultural backgrounds. She is a qualified Charted Accountant and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Her work experience includes finance management, auditing, compliance, governance, and risk management in not-for -profit and commercial organisations in Australia and Asia Pacific region.  She’s currently the Chief Operating Officer at Council on the Ageing Victoria and Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV). Rochna held similar roles with InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence and International Women’s Development Agency. She has also served on several not-for-profit boards. Rochna is chair of the Finance and Audit, Risk Committee.

Sue Timbs Board member (1)

Sue Timbs (she/her)


Sue is an experienced executive and non-executive director, with a senior legal professional services background. Sue is a Commissioner with the Victorian Liquor Commission and a member of the Independent Review Panel under the Gambling Act (Vic) and has been the CEO of a number of NFPs including the EndUCD Foundation – a charity that’s working to prevent unexplained cardiac deaths for Australians under 50. Sue worked at both Mallesons and Corrs Chambers Westgarth and has served on several not-for-profit boards.

Tania Farha Board member (1)

Tania Farha (she/her)

Tania has spent much of her career working to end violence against women. She also has extensive experience managing change and understanding the Legal system and public sector. Tania is currently the CEO of Safe and Equal - the peak body for specialist family violence services that provide support to victim survivors in Victoria. Before joining Safe and Equal, Tania worked in Victoria's Justice, Department, Premier and Cabinet, the Office of Women’s Equality, Vic Pol and at the UN. Tania is a member of the Finance and Audit, Risk Committee.

Adrienne Walters Board member

Adrianne Walters (she/her)

For much of her career Adrianne has focused on the rights of women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Adrienne is currently Associate Legal Director at the Human Rights Law Centre, where she uses strategic legal action, media advocacy and political engagement to change and prevent unjust laws. Adrianne understands the opportunities and challenges for community legal services, having worked at the Top End Women’s Legal Service in Darwin and volunteered for Women's Legal Service Victoria.

Trish Mitra-Kahn Board member

Dr Trish Mitra-Kahn (she/her)

Trish has a deep knowledge of family violence and sexual assault service provision and uses her lived experience as a survivor and disabled person of colour to inform her work. Trish is currently Head of Business Development at the Human Equation. She was previously the Director of Research and Planning at Family Safety Victoria and held CEO roles in Family Violence services in New South Wales, and ran the research program at ANROWS - Australia's national research organisation guiding policy and practice to reduce violence against women and their children. She is an experienced Non-Executive Director and has held governance roles in disability justice, family violence, sexual assault and feminist campaigning organisations.

Senior leadership

Claudia Fatone2 CEO

Claudia Fatone (she/her)

Chief Executive Officer

Claudia has extensive leadership, operations, strategy and governance experience. She spent eight years as Fitzroy Legal Services CEO, during which time she oversaw two strategic planning processes and a merger between Fitzroy and Darebin Community Legal Centre. Claudia has also led community legal sector development with the Federation of Community Legal Centres. Claudia has extensive Board experience, including Respect Victoria, Adult Community & Further Education Board, Victoria Law Foundation and Cricket Victoria.

Sharon Rayner Operations Director (1)

Sharon Rayner (she/her)

Director Operations

As the Director, Operations, Sharon leads the Finance, People & Culture, Data & Evaluation and Administration Services teams, as well as overseeing planning, risk management and governance.  Sharon is an experienced leader of corporate services in the not-for-profit and education sectors, with extensive experience overseeing the operations of complex organisations, and leading all aspects of strategic and operational planning.   Sharon has always been a strong feminist, and has a passion for social justice and equality.

Jess De Vries Legal Director (1)

Jess de Vries (she/her)

Director Legal Services

Jess brings over 15 years of experience in the legal sector to her role as Director Legal Services at Women's Legal. Prior to joining Women's Legal, Jess was Director of legal Practice at Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL). She managed the legal practice of IMCL through the pandemic, and the hard public housing lockdown in North Melbourne and Flemington.  Jess is committed to improving outcomes for women and children, particularly in promoting their rights to live free from violence. 

Amy Schwebel E&E Director (1)

Amy Schwebel (she/her)

Director Education & Engagement

Amy brings fifteen years of experience working in the not for profit and legal assistance sectors to her role at Women's Legal. Prior to joining Women's Legal Service Victoria, Amy worked at Justice Connect and Victoria Legal Aid. Amy has experience delivering high quality policy and law reform agendas and leading successful advocacy campaigns with a focus on family violence, child protection and family. 

Roj Amedi

Roj Amedi (she/her)

Director Policy Advocacy and Communications

Roj Amedi is the Director of Advocacy, Policy and Communications. She is the Chair of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and serves on the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women steering committee. She has previously served as the Chair of Overland Literary Magazine and held senior advocacy positions at GetUp, Foundation for Young Australians, Justice Connect and Colour Code.

Lisa Fowler

Lisa Fowler (she/her)

Deputy Director Legal Services

Lisa Fowler is Deputy Director Legal Services. She is an experienced community lawyer and works extensively with victim-survivors of abuse, trauma and gender-based harm. Lisa contributes to policy and advocacy work for Women's Legal, is deputy chair of Women’s Legal Services Australia Migration Working Group and is a member of various migration sector working groups. Prior to joining Women’s Legal Service, Lisa worked at knowmore Legal Service and Refugee Legal.

Our office is closed

We will reopen at 9am Monday 8 January 2024.


You can contact Victoria Legal Aid for legal support or Safe Steps for family violence support. 


Our duty lawyer services will continue during this period. Please contact your local court if you need legal help at court.


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