Dr Melanie Heenan
Melanie Heenan is an established leader with extensive experience in family violence and sexual assault research, policy, practice and system reform in Victoria, including leadership roles with the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Victorian Law Reform Commission.
Melanie is deeply committed to and motivated by preventing all forms of family violence and sexual assault and ensuring that victim survivors, including children and young people, receive the services and support they need.
Melanie held the position of Executive Director of Victim Services, Support, and Reform in the Department of Justice and Community Safety from 2018 to 2023. In this role she oversaw the implementation of large-scale service operations and critical reforms aimed at enhancing system responses to victims of crime.
She also held responsibility for the design and establishment of a new administrative Financial Assistance Scheme designed to address the impact of crime on victims’ lives. The Scheme is due to commence in 2024.
In the past, Melanie served as the Executive Director of Court Network, a non for profit organisation dedicated to supporting people to navigate the court system. She has also played a lead role in pioneering primary prevention initiatives in collaboration with local councils, sporting clubs, workplaces, and schools to address the underlying causes of gender-based violence.
In 2006, Melanie served as the inaugural manager of the Respect and Responsibility program at the Australian Football League. In this national capacity she spearheaded the strategy to create safe, supportive, and inclusive environments for women and girls within the football industry.
Melanie was also an original member of the Prime Minister’s National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children that produced Time For Action: The National Council’s Plan for Australia to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children, 2009-2021.