Elder Abuse Helpline
1800 ELDERHelp
(1800 353 374)
Elder Abuse Action Australia

Our Team

EAAA exists to make real and meaningful change. We do this primarily through advocacy, publicity and practical guidance.
Our Team
EAAA exists to make real and meaningful change. We do this primarily through advocacy, publicity and practical guidance.
Sue Leitch

Sue Leitch

Co-Chair

Sue has health policy background and extensive experience in health and ageing policy. A previous community pharmacist owner and pharmacist consultant, Sue was the CEO of COTA Tasmania from 2012-2022. She has a Masters of Ageing from University of Melbourne.

Sue has senior management experience in a number of organisations including the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and has served on several boards across her career, contributing to policy and participating in projects and programs that benefit the community.

She is the past chair of major disability provider Li-Ve Tasmania and is a member of the Community Council of Primary Health Network Tasmania.

Sue is a mosaic artist and is currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus on painting and printmaking. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Her special areas of interest are ageism and its mental health impacts, health literacy, arts and wellbeing, and the role that age-friendly communities and inclusion can play to benefit the health and wellbeing of older people.

 

Diedre Timms

Co-Chair

Diedre Timms was a founding member of EAAA and one of the inaugural cochairs and has extensive executive level management and community development experience in the not-for-profit sector in rural and metropolitan environments.  

She has managed programs and organisations in the areas of disability, women’s health Aboriginal health, aged care and community care, and international emergency response in the following key roles: 

  • established the South West Women’s Health and Information Centre in Bunbury and is past chair of the Fremantle Women’s Health Centre board; 
  • worked with the Noongar community to establish the South West Aboriginal Medical Centre and conducted a Commonwealth Coordinated health care trial;  
  • past CEO of Advocare, Western Australia’s peak advocacy agency for older people’s rights, past CEO, Volunteer Task Force, an organisation providing community care, past Head of Metro Social Care at Silver Chain, managing metro wide community care and 
  • Indonesian Desk Officer for the Australian Red Cross Tsunami Response team,  

Diedre is also a director of a boutique software house, Configurable Software Solutions. 

Diedre is a passionate advocate for social justice. She has a Bachelor of Education and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

 

Phillipa McDonald

Helen Wallace

Helen has 40 years’ experience working in human services delivery, social policy and planning, and community development in large and small government and non-government entities.

Her current role at Caxton Legal Centre (since 2015) includes direct service delivery to older Australians experiencing abuse using a lawyer–social worker model where human rights, protection and autonomy are key considerations.

Helen is a collaborator across sectors for raising awareness of elder abuse and law and policy reform to prevent abuse and improve Australian responses to it.

 

Vicki Woods

With more than 30 years’ experience as an owner/operator of a multi award-winning hotel in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Vicki has expertise in, and a passion for, the hotel, restaurant, wine, tourism, disability support and research industries.

She has more than 30 years’ board and committee experience in statutory authorities, not-for-profit, local government and industry organisations.

Vicki is passionate about the welfare and care of older people, particularly those with disability and mobility issues. She has strong corporate governance skills, including risk management, strategic and operational skills including financial management, gained through board experience and completion of the AICD Company Directors Course.

Vicki has demonstrated successful fundraising and marketing abilities across various organisations and sectors. She has a track record of successfully lobbying Federal, State & Local Government.  Vicki sits on several boards, holds roles as an Ambassador & Peer Support worker & has been a Director of EAAA since 2019.

Dr Rebecca Edwards

With over 25 years in the legal sector, Rebecca brings extensive skills and management expertise to the EAAA Board, with a particular focus on rural and regional Australia. Her specialisations include family violence, elder law, criminal law, native title law, among other areas relevant to regional practice.

Rebecca dedicated a decade to shaping the future of the legal profession as a lecturer at La Trobe University, nurturing the next generation of lawyers.

She is currently Director of Legal Services at ARC Justice, a human rights organisation providing legal support to people in 13 local government areas in central and northern Victoria.

Rebecca possesses a wealth of experience in corporate governance, consistently contributing to the community sector through active leadership roles in various organisations. She is also an excellent communicator, with valuable experience in strategic planning, stakeholder management and policy development.

Dr Medha Gunawardana

Medha has worked extensively in the multicultural sector in Victoria for over the past 5 years. She is currently the Manager of Community Strengthening at Australian Multicultural Community Services (AMCS). Before this, Medha worked in the Academic sector as a lecturer and a researcher in national and international universities for 15 years.  

An active cultural and community development volunteer and leader in multiculturalism, she is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all Australians, including newly emerging communities.  

Medha is actively engaging in Australia’s national elder abuse prevention responses through a range of Federal, State, Local and philanthropic funding, and advisory groups.  

She is passionate about raising awareness of elder abuse, prevention, early intervention and response strategies among CALD community leaders, groups and members. 

 

Tara Simpson

Tara has been a legal practitioner for over 30 years including being part of the Legal Services Commission of South Australia. She is currently a Team Leader at the Aged Rights Advocacy Services (ARAS).

She spent 20 years at the Legal Services Commission, representing them at the Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (APEA) as well as establishing and managing the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Representation Scheme.

Tara currently sits on the Human Rights Coercion Reduction Committee established by the South Australian Chief Psychiatrist in 2021 which he currently chairs. In her spare time, she is a consumer representative for the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network.

A passionate advocate for human rights, Tara believes that the law should be accessible to all, particularly the more vulnerable members of the community.

 

Executive

Phillipa McDonald

Bev Lange

Executive Officer

A highly experienced consultant, senior executive and company director, Bev is a recognised leader, coach, influencer and innovator.

Her success as a senior executive and leader in government roles, community organisations and private companies demonstrates her commitment to community service and excellence.

As a consultant, Bev has assisted organisations with workplace productivity coaching, communication planning, governance, strategic development and general management.

Bev splits her working life as a business coach and executive officer with EAAA.

 

Phillipa McDonald

Brigitte Jonas

Brigitte is a freelance festival and event producer based in Sydney. With more than ten years’ industry experience, Brigitte has been involved in the planning and delivery of some of Australia’s largest and best-known events.

Her projects include national celebrations, music, car and cultural festivals as well as event presentation services for major sporting events across Australia and abroad.

Through Brigitte’s events experience, she brings skills in project management, planning, IT systems, business administration, sponsor activation and budgeting.

 

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