Our Team

The Centre’s team is passionate about providing high quality service to our stakeholders. We have administration, project support, multimedia, education, research and lecturing staff based in Mackay and Brisbane.

Associate Professor Heather Lovatt


PhD  |  Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching  |  Graduate Diploma of Business  |  Bachelor of Community Welfare

Heather was appointed QCDFVR Director in March 2018, after working at the Centre as a Senior Researcher for several years. In this role Heather has led a diverse range of research projects relating to gendered violence.  There is a tangible intersect between research and practice at QCDFVR epitomising an integrated approach that links education/training, sector development and research.   With a background of working with community services in government and non-government sectors prior to her current role, Heather has a particular interest in applied research that has a social impact; ensuring the knowledge and wisdom of those impacted by gendered violence, priority populations and front-line practitioners are prioritised.  She hopes that the integrated approach QCDFVR has adopted contributes to informed policy, practice and workforce development.

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Associate Professor Jennifer Smith

Associate professor

PhD  I  Master of Social Work (Research)  I  Bachelor of Social Work

Jennifer has been a practitioner/academic social worker for 40 years and joined the Centre in 2023.  Her experience includes 17 years university teaching (at QUT, UQ, ACU and UNE) and 23 years as a practitioner in the government (Child Health and Child Safety) and community sectors (Lifeline and UnitingCare Community). Her masters and doctorial research focused on the impact of domestic violence on children and their mother’s parenting, as well as children’s perceptions of domestic violence and was the earliest Australian research in this field. Her teaching and publications have been in the areas of social work, child and family practice, counselling, and group work. She is passionate about early intervention, family support and public health approaches to family violence and was a successful recipient of a Creswick Fellowship in Family Relations and Child Development.


Dr Nicola Cheyne

senior LECTURER – Head of course

PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice  |  Honours in Criminology and Criminal Justice  |  Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice  |  Bachelor of Behavioural Sciences

For the past two years, Nicola has worked as a researcher at QCDFVR, working on projects such as an evaluation of Queensland Police Service domestic violence training and an evaluation of a sexual assault response team trial. Nicola’s current role forms a key part of the lecturing team, teaching into the two introductory units, DFVP20001 Domestic and Family Violence Theories and Perspectives and DVP20002 Domestic and Family Violence Responses and Interventions across Term 1 and Term 3. She has previous experience as a lecturer and tutor in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University for 11 years, teaching introductory units in forensic psychology, sociological theories and academic writing.

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Liz Boardman


Bachelor of Arts : Psychology | Diploma Community Service work

Liz Boardman has spent over 15 years working directly with women and children who have experienced gender-based violence in Southeast Queensland and in the United Kingdom. In 2019 she was excited to transition to QCDFVR to take on a new role supporting practitioners within the sector through facilitating Communities of Practice and upskilling generalist practitioners through training.

Liz’s years working as a domestic violence advocate in Queensland equipped her with a thorough and practical knowledge of the challenges Queensland women, children and families face. Liz is passionate about highlighting children’s experiences of DFV, as well as being a voice for practitioners’ well-being within the sector.

Dr Lyndal Sleep


PhD, MA (Sociology), BSc

Lyndal joined the QCFDVR in 2023, after two years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Automated Decision Making and Society Centre of Excellence based at the University of Queensland School of Social Science. There she researched women, violence, and technology, aiming to improve the lives and life chances of women in situations of intersectional disadvantage by articulating gendered harms and amplifying women’s voices. Lyndal also works with advocacy groups to make concrete change in women’s lives through collaborative research. Her research has covered domestic violence and the couple rule in social security law, and domestic violence and Centrelink debt. Lyndal’s current research includes the intersections between automated technologies, domestic violence, and systems abuse, including rethinking auditing automated systems with a trauma informed framework, as well as online gendered harms.

Lyndal’s academic background spans social work, social science, sociology, technology and society studies, and law. Her PhD was on the lived experience of the couple rule in Australian social security law. Post PhD Lyndal has been Chief Investigator in a number of research projects, including the ANROWS funded project Domestic Violence, Social Security Law and the Couple Rule, and the current University of Notre Dame IBM Ethics Lab funded Trauma Informed AI: Developing and Testing a practical AI Trauma Informed Auditing Framework for use in the Social Services. Lyndal has published in leading national and international journals, including Qualitative Inquiry and Critical Social Policy, and is co-editor of the Journal of Social Inclusion.

Suewellyn Kelly


Provisional PhD Candidate | Master of Education | Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education | Bachelor of Vocational Education | Diploma of Community Services Management | Certificate in Youth Work Practice | Certificate 4 TAE

CQUniversity Associate Suewellyn Kelly is an educator and practitioner with 30 years’ experience in the health, community, and education sectors. Suewellyn has a keen interest in integrated, holistic work practices that reduce ‘silo’ responses for families facing complex issues in their lives. Her roles have included both advocacy and program development, addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, homelessness, mental health, substance misuse, generational trauma, as well as educational, social, and financial exclusion. Suewellyn sits on the Mackay DFV Integrated Services Team, the Mackay Mayor’s DFV Taskforce and the LGAQ DFV Prevention Champions Network.

Mark Walters


Masters Candidate | Bachelor of Psychological Science  |  Cert IV in Training and Assessment

Mark’s work in behavioural change spans 30 years in which he has delivered front line interventions in the form of client counselling, behavioural change programs, professional development and training. Mark was one of the principle trainers in the Common Risk and Safety Framework as part of establishment of the High-Risk Teams in the Queensland trial sites. He has served as a board member on the Queensland Death Review and Advisory Board that works with the coroner to make recommendations to Government on improving service provision for those who have died as a result of domestic and family violence.

Margaret Roche


Certificate IV in Accounting

Prior to commencing with the Centre in 2016, Margaret worked in local government and the media.

Margaret supports the research, education and sector development arms of QCDFVR.

Monique Blundell

Research administration Assistant

Commencing at the Centre in 2018 as a casual Administration Officer, Monique has grown to a pivotal role supporting projects, multimedia, resource development, and event planning.

Janine Hicks


Commencing with the Centre in 2017, Janine has worked in administration, purchasing and human resource sectors.

Janine is now the Project Support Officer for research, education and event planning with the Centre.

Maree Gibbs

Administration officer

Maree joined in 2018, Maree has worked in reception/clerical positions in a wide variety of companies. She enjoys being a part of the QCDFVR team.

Dr Liane McDermott

Senior Research Fellow

Graduate Certificate in Writing, Editing and Publishing | Graduate Certificate in Creative Industries (Creative Writing) | Dr of Philosophy | Master of Social Science (Health Practice) | Bachelor of Social Science (Human Services)

Liane is a Research Fellow with the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research. Since joining the Centre in 2016, Liane has led and managed several research projects evaluating programs for victim-survivors of domestic, family and/or sexual violence, as well as perpetrator programs that aim to improve the safety of women and their children. Her focus at the Centre is on understanding and improving service delivery and outcomes for those affected by gendered violence. With a background in community development and public health research, Liane has also worked extensively with communities, government and non-government organisations in the development, implementation and evaluation of programs focusing on health behaviour change, and the health and wellbeing needs of communities. She is a member of the Australian Evaluation Society and The Institute of Professional Editors. Liane hopes her research will contribute to the development of initiatives to prevent and reduce gendered violence, support front-line practitioners and the gendered violence sector more broadly, and improve the lives of individuals and communities.
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Professor Annabel Taylor


PhD  |  Bachelor of Arts  |  Diploma of Teaching  |  Master of Social Work

Annabel’s appointment to this flagship position in 2018 followed her tenure as Director of QCDFVR. Annabel joined the Director in late 2014. Prior to her arrival Annabel was based at the University of Canterbury and held the position of Director of the Te Awatea Violence Research Centre. During this time, Annabel was a Ministerial appointee to the Canterbury Benefit Review Committee and helped to establish and support community agencies providing services in child abuse prevention and support for women on release from prison. Annabel has published widely and in 2013 co-edited a book “Understanding Violence: Context and Practice in the Human Services” which has become a key resource for practitioners and students in a variety of university based learning. She has been a pioneer in introducing extensive domestic and family violence education and training options at both Higher Education and VET levels through QCDFVR’s relationship with CQUniversity.

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Dr Sue Carswell


Special Postgraduate Paper : Evaluating Social Programmes in ‘Real World’ Contexts  |  Doctor of Philosophy : Social Anthropology  |  Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) : Social Anthropology

Dr Sue Carswell is an Adjunct Senior Researcher at QCDFVR. Sue is a social anthropologist (BA Hons First Class and PhD) and has a post graduate qualification in evaluating social programs in ‘Real World’ contexts. She has over 20 years research and evaluation experience working for government agencies, community organisations, and universities. Sue’s focus is on how good outcomes can be achieved for individuals and families experiencing complex issues such as domestic and family violence, sexual violence, child safety, poverty, mental health and addictions. Sue is a specialist in research and evaluation of service development and delivery to provide information on implementation, effectiveness, and to inform good practice. She believes that developing collaborative relationships with funders, service providers and users and other stakeholders is critical to the success of implementing any project. She has authored or co-authored over 70 reports including peer reviewed journal articles, government and community research and evaluation reports, and literature reviews.

Dr Marika Guggisberg

senior LECTURER (Adjunct)

PhD  |  Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)  |  Master of Criminology

Dr Guggisberg joined CQU in February 2017. She is a psychotherapist and family law practitioner in private practice continuing to contribute to CQU through research, research supervision and consultancy in her areas of expertise, specifically sexual abuse. After completing her PhD at the University of Western Australia, she collaborated with the Sexual Assault Resource Centre as part of her Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Curtin University where she taught into the Sexology Program. She has a background in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Criminology. Her clinical and research interests focus on sexual victimisation and perpetration. Dr Guggisberg is an associate editor, peer reviewer of several academic journals and author of numerous books, book chapters and journal articles.

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