Chair - Andrew Grech
Board member since: July 2010
Qualifications: Chartered Accountant, Graduate Diploma Applied Corporate Governance, Master of Commerce, Bachelor of Economics
Andrew was elected Chair in May 2012 having originally joined the Board as Treasurer. He has worked in Australia and Czech Republic in professional services (auditing, management accounting) and shared services, in a range of leadership roles. Andrew is currently working in the secondary education sector and is a “Big” in the Big Brother Big Sister program.
Vice Chair - Anthony Blyth
Board member since: June 2012
Qualifications: Bachelor of Commerce, Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investments
Anthony has extensive experience as a management and technology consultant within the Energy, Government and Banking sectors. He has extensive experience in leading projects, project and change management.
Treasurer - Daniella Traino
Board member since: August 2013
Qualifications: Chartered Accountant, Certified Information Security Manager, Bachelor of Commerce (Computer Science, Accounting)
Daniella has worked in senior leadership roles across information security and risk management within Professional Services, Banking and Finance and State Government organisations. Daniella is also an associate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AAICD).
Secretary - Benjamin Graham
Board member since: August 2017
Qualifications: Bachelor of Communication/Journalism
Benjamin’s work can be seen in several peak bodies and professional associations in healthcare, agriculture and migration since 2007. As his experience shows, he focuses on communication, marketing, membership, media and business development work. Benjamin has also served as a senior and General Manager during his time working in the associations sector, and currently serves as a board member for CAPS, Community Options Australia and serves on the Membership and Activism Sub-Committee of Amnesty International Australia.
Benjamin joined the board of CAPS in August 2017 as he felt a deep connection and commitment to the overarching goal of the organisation – to improve outcomes for children, families and communities. Benjamin also joined the board to contribute his skillset to continue the work of the
board making CAPS a strong and sustainable organisation with a deep social impact.
Benjamin has a wide range of corporate communications skills, and a working understanding of the NGO sector. Benjamin is a member of the Australasian Society of Association Executives and holds a Bachelor degree in Communications/Journalism from the University of Canberra.
Board Member - Kieran Le Plastrier
Bard member since: February 2017
In my childhood and adolescence I have had friendships and associations with people who over many years were victims of child sexual assault by family members. Lately in my training as a Psychiatry Registrar I witness weekly the devastation and long term consequences including breach of trust and the abuse of power of adults, forcing themselves sexually onto children.
Over the years it became more apparent to me that the fear we have in the community of damaging a child’s innocence by contemplating introducing them to the possibility of abuse actually doesn’t play out in real life. Children are actually very aware consciously and unconsciously of dangerous situations and they are actually able to feel the feelings when they are in danger. What so often happens is that they don’t know what to do with those feelings.
Child Abuse Prevention Service (CAPS) has over decades refined a model of early childhood introduction to being safe in relationships. The approach respects the innocence of children, but at the same time, gives them a pathway to recruiting adults that they can trust to tell them about feelings, when they feel unsafe with other adults.
From a scholarly point of view, the literature is very clear now that children who have safe adults to go to, when they feel unsafe, will actually disclose circumstances where there is actually, objectively, a high risk of abuse taking place. These include situations like children recognizing but not knowing the words for when they are being groomed and when caring adults that have an intimate relationship with them, whether that is a parent or a close relative, has violated boundaries. So children are actually quite sophisticated in their understanding about what is safe and unsafe in terms of those relationships. We can build on that inherent intelligence without interfering with their innocence and enjoyment of being children.
CAPS has over 40 years made extraordinary inroads into this area of prevention so it is a privilege to have been asked to join the Board to progress this great work and help grow that service so that more children and more adults across New South Wales (NSW) have an opportunity to learn how to be safe and what safety is when it comes to warm and trusting relationships between adults and children.
The education intervention program in early learning centres, which is the core feature of the CAPS work, has a model that is scalable right across NSW and Australia. I think that it allows for the extension of the dialogue that the brave and extraordinary adult survivors have engaged with through the process of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse and its findings. This is a time where we can translate the devastating, cruel and enduring effects of child abuse on people across their adult lives. It is about taking that brave and soul searching efforts made by all those people who came through the commission and turning that into a practical reality that protects children into the future, and perhaps brings healing to those who were the children of the past. And so we have to have to go and have these conversations with children, we have to have a sophisticated understanding of the warning signs that a child is feeling unsafe in their adult relationships amongst early learning providers, parents and amongst institutions in order to ensure that we insulate children and reduce the risks of the future of institutional abuse but also abuse within families which is an ongoing and devastating problem amongst many communities and in fact all communities across Australia. So CAPS has the capacity to introduce early learning centres and other agencies, schools, government, to an evidence based model of early learning extension that has a high likelihood of increasing children’s capacity to respond to unsafe situations so that they might actually avoid the consequences of abuse in the first place. Or where abuse is taking place that adults and institutions might intervene earlier to reduce the potential long-term trauma of that abuse.
About Dr. Kieran
Dr Le Plastrier graduated with Honours from Monash Medical School in 2002 and has since studied and trained in a diverse range of clinical settings including surgery, internal medicine, psychiatry, and community medicine. Kieran has a strong scholarly interest spanning medicine, psychology, physics and complex dynamic phenomena, and has published and lectured across Australia focused on translating these interests into improved performance of physicians and health systems. His PhD at Western Sydney University, currently under examination, has explored the dynamic systems of hospital emergency departments and the critical roles of suffering and entropy in making meaning of the effectiveness and efficiency of health-care services and their people. Dr Le Plastrier holds a Master of Psychiatry, is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Informatics, and is completing his general practice training in Sydney, Australia, where he also acts as Clinical Lead at Jewish House – an innovative crisis response charity based in Bondi.
Board Member – Clare Perkins
Board member since: June 2015
Qualifications: Chartered Accountant, Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting, Finance), accredited with the Australian Financial Markets Association
Clare has extensive experience across banking and finance, and has worked in both Australia and the United Kingdom. She has specialised in structured finance. Clare is currently involved in both the graduate and mentoring programs across Westpac.
Board Member - John Cowell
Board member since:August 2013
Qualifications: Bachelor of Laws
John has extensive experience in commercial and corporate advisory. He has worked in Australia and overseas holding internal legal and governance roles in Bangladesh, China, India, Singapore, South Korea and the UAE. John is currently General Counsel and Company Secretary for Healthdirect Australia and has been with that company since its incorporation by COAG in 2006. Healthdirect Australia is funded by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to deliver national tele-health and e-health solutions to the general public.