Family violence has no boundaries Conference

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Conference Committee (Alphabetical Order)

Umalkher Dalmar

Umalkher Dalmar is the Chairwoman of the Ethiopian Somali Diaspora Community of Australia. and has worked for over 18 years in the Migrant and Refugee Resettlement Services area as well as in the Public Housing Sector.  

Umalkher currently works on Family Violence Conference Project with African Tink Tank. Umalkher has actively involved and served in a number of community organisations board such as the Public Housing Estate Computers, Somali Women’s Association, Public Housing Tenants Association and African Women working on Female Circumcision. Umalkher holds Bachelor of Social Work Degree from Victoria University.

Julie Edwards

Julie Edwards joined Jesuit Social Services in 2001. She was the Program Director prior to her appointment as CEO in June 2004. Julie has over 35 years experience engaging with marginalised people and families experiencing breakdown and trauma. She is a social worker, family therapist and a grief and loss counsellor. Julie has a Masters in Social Work and is currently completing her doctorate in this discipline. In January 2010 Julie became a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Julie has served on a number of government and philanthropic committees that work to promote a more just society and contribute to the health and wellbeing of members of our community. She is also a member of the International Working Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement.

Julie is a member of a number of national and international Jesuit commissions and working groups across areas of justice, education, social ministry, ecology and Governance of Natural and Mineral Resources.

Julie is passionate about finding ways to give practical expression to her social justice values, about exploring the most effective means to build a more just society and promoting a values-based model of leadership.

Paula Ferrari

Paula Ferrari is the Managing Director of No FGM Australia, a registered charity which aims to protect girls from female genital mutilation, and advocates for dignified care and support which empowers survivors of FGM. 

Paula is a mother, educator, health professional and independent scholar who is passionate about including FGM in conversations about family violence affecting women and girls in Australia.

Joanne Goodman

Over many years working at North Melbourne Language & Learning inc.(NMLL), Joanne Goodman has contributed significantly to the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community. She has been a tireless advocate, leader and supporter of the CALD community. 

She has developed and driven initiatives that directly strengthen and support the CALD residents of Melbourne and particularly on the North Melbourne public housing estate that NMLL serves. 

Joanne’s understanding and commitment to the needs of the CALD community has ensured the delivery of programs and responses that have directly enhanced many lives, making a difference to individuals and their families and ensuring that the voice of the CALD community is heard. 

Mmaskepe Sejoe

Mmaskepe Sejoe is a Social Scientist with 30+ years practical experience in human rights with a particular interest in human rights and public policy. 

She has previously worked as a Consultant Researcher for the Botswana Centre for Human Rights (Domestic Workers Socio-economic rights), where she also represented the organisation in groups such as Women in Law and Development. 

Mmaskepe went on to work in Sexual and Reproductive Rights; Human Rights and Culture as well as Human Rights and Policing in Australia and Overseas.

Theresa Sengaaga Ssali (nee Ssali)

Theresa is founder, Chairperson of the African Women’s Network South East and Senior Social Worker, Settlement and Youth Services at New Hope Foundation. In 2014 Theresa was a winner of the Victorian African Community Awards as UNSUNG COMUNITY HERO and 2013, she received an award as one of the 100 most influential African Australians in Australia. 

Theresa has spent over 25 years working in Australia both as a qualified Social Worker and Librarian. Theresa migrated to Australia from Uganda. Theresa is one of the African-Australian community members who has made significant contribution in community settlement work.  Developing innovative initiatives, development projects with the aim of addressing immediate and long term community’s needs and advocating on settlement issues thus influencing policy formation with a focus on communities from culturally and linguistically diverse background (CALD). Theresa has extensive experience in delivering cross-cultural training and cross-cultural information provision to government department (Federal, state and local government), non- profit organization and number of mainstream services providers. 

Theresa, motivated by her own personal settlement experience Theresa has hosts countless African events and services, including: Coordination of annually Africa Day Australia Women and Families Forum. In 2012 Theresa in partnership with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) initiated the Africa Day Australia Annual Celebration in Melbourne. Theresa established and Co-ordinated the African Holistic Social Services Victoria (AHSSV) in Melbourne 2001- 2010. This service was managed by the former Eastern and Central African Communities of Victoria (EACACOV), now called the African Communities Foundation (ACF)

• Bachelor of Social Work Degree, Monash University

• Bachelor of Social Sciences- Librarianship: RMIT University.

• Trained family  mediator gazetted and registered with the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV)

Ms. Tahiya Umer

Ms. Tahiya Umer is the first African women to stand for the Victorian state Election 2014 to empower young African women in Australia; Ex-Chairperson of the Oromo community and is well-known to many Africans residing in inner Melbourne, through her commitment on marginalized women’s issues. Ms. Umer manages community media speaking on women’s issues and the challenge of family violence in the new and emerging communities. 

Tahiya worked with many not-for profit organisations in her role as advocate of women’s issue and as ex-chairwoman to help others achieve their full potential, and also want to see community members engaged actively to stop family violence and violence against woman that brings men to be champions and bring respect and trust within the families, future generations and the communities.

Tahiya helped several agencies such as New Hope Refugee Services, Spectrum Migrant resource Centre in developing programs including women’s leadership, driving and health programs. These programs mainly in inner Melbourne particularly in the housing state commission. Tahiya also hosted the Flemington Community Centre hosted hopes in doing so, African community members to place emphasis on local Celebration promoting the Oromo culture with other African cultures. She was also the founding member of the Flemington Multicultural Eid Celebration with other members of the African communities.