DVConnect welcomes three non-executive Directors including a new Chair as its work helping survivors find pathways to safety enters a pivotal phase

DVConnect today welcomed three non-executive Directors including a new Chair of the Board, saying the expanded skill set comes at a time when national interest in helping survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence find pathways to safety has never been greater.

Trina Hockley AM, Carly Jacobitz and Professor Patrick O’Leary join DVConnect as non-executive Directors. Collectively they bring extensive board experience and technical expertise across the areas of governance, risk management, education and training, bystander intervention and social work.

Trina Hockley AM was also elected to the position of Chair by the Board of Directors.

Spokesperson and outgoing Acting Chair, Fiona Maxwell, said the Board had undertaken a structured process to identify the skills mix required to build on the organisation’s transformational growth achieved under the stewardship of Shaan Ross-Smith, who stepped down as Chair earlier this year.

“As a Board, we recognise it is a pivotal time because political and public will to stop domestic, family and sexual violence has never been greater,” Fiona said. “We are confident Trina, Carly and Patrick will make a strong contribution as the Board works to identify new strategic opportunities.

“The Board was particularly keen to ensure the next Chair had the experience to ensure rigorous and robust governance given the anticipated growth of DVConnect in coming years,” Fiona said. “Trina has a strong background in governance and organisational leadership and transformation as well as a strong passion for the for-purpose sector.”

Newly appointed Chair, Trina Hockley AM is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors with extensive experience in large for-purpose organisations. She is looking forward to contributing her 20 years of leadership and governance experience in service of DVConnect’s work.

“I’m excited and honoured to be appointed Chair of DVConnect,” Trina said. “I know it’s a big job but I believe I can add value through my governance background. As the company has evolved, the Board has recognised the contribution professional Non-Executive Directors can make. This recognition is a sign of a well-run organisation and is a credit to them.

“I’m looking forward to deepening my understanding of DVConnect and the sector, and reconnecting with relevant government contacts. DVConnect has a role to play in shifting the dynamic from victim survivor to educating the perpetrator and I’m looking forward to drawing on my strong skills in education and training to bring high-quality training to the sector.

Fiona Maxwell will remain as Non-Executive Director and says DVConnect’s mission is safe in the hands of staff and Board who demonstrate care, compassion and commitment.

“Together, with CEO Beck O’Connor who continues to lead the organisation with grace and passion, the Board is looking forward to the next phase of ensuring victim survivors are heard and can be safe,” Fiona said.

DVConnect wishes to thank Fiona Maxwell for stepping into the role of Acting Chair and continuing Non-Executive Directors for their commitment during the recent recruitment and transitional phase.




Trina is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and has more than 25 years of experience as a non-executive Director and business owner. She has specialist knowledge in the education, training, youth and disability sectors. Trina is also a current Non-Executive Director of TAFE Qld and Arcadia College/Ohana for Youth/Ohana College. Her community contributions have been recognised with awards including as an Outstanding Volunteer to the Indigenous Community and a 20-year Leadership Award from the City of Gold Coast. She is a mentor for the Queensland Government’s Mentoring for Growth Program and an avid advocate for women in trades.

Carly Jacobitz AHPRA GAICD

Carly is a registered psychologist and graduate of the AICD who brings 15 years of operational and executive experience in human services. She is the National Director at Life Without Barriers and is a non-executive Director of PeakCare, the child protection peak body in Queensland. Her extensive experience in child protection and disability within government and for-purpose organisations led her to be appointed to the Queensland Government’s Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce. Carly remains strongly committed to vulnerable children, young people, and families and is an advocate for financial agility and innovation within the organisations that serve them.

Professor Patrick O’Leary BSW(Hons) PhD

Patrick is an internationally-recognised researcher currently based at Griffith University with significant expertise in domestic violence/gender-based violence (with a focus on perpetrator intervention, integrated, differential, and intersectional responses), child protection, long-term impact of child sexual abuse (especially for men), social work, hope, and socially excluded young people. He is Co-lead of the University’s Disrupting Violence Beacon and Director of Violence Research and Prevention Program (VRPP) which operates the bystander intervention project, MATE. Patrick was a member of the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce examining coercive control and women’s experience of the justice system. He was also an Expert Academic Advisor to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Patrick Chairs the Clinical Advisory Committee for SAMSN, supporting male survivors of child sexual abuse.

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Thank you DVConnect for saving my Mums life, and mine. You guys getting us out of there changed everything. Thank you so much. Life is good now! 

Our survivor has chosen to remain anonymous.

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  • Provides operational support to fund our bridging accommodation residence Bella's Sanctuary.
  • Provides emergency transport and accommodation for Queenslanders in crisis due to domestic and family violence.
  • Provides safety planning, crisis counselling and information to those impacted by domestic and family violence.
  • Educates Queenslanders on how to help family, friends and colleagues who have experienced, or are experiencing domestic and family violence.