Staff Profiles


DEMPSEY – PRINCIPAL SOLICITOR

Dempsey qualified as a registered nurse at aged 18 years and eventually specialising in emergency care, a role has taken her to numerous continents where she developed her interest in humanitarian work.

Having successfully studied at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, she went on to work as a humanitarian aid worker with the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières. It was during one of these missions, in Cambodia, that her interest in law was sparked. Although Dempsey’s role was that of the hospital management advisor her nursing skills were frequently called upon, particularly with the admission of land mine victims. Many of these victims and their families would consult with Dempsey requesting assistance to obtain compensation from the Cambodian government for the loss of their major income earner.

During the frustrating process of advocating for the victims within a corrupt and dysfunctional government, Dempsey realised her passion for giving a voice to the vulnerable members of the community and decided that she would undertake her legal studies.

Dempsey relocated to Australia in 2003 and worked as a nurse full time while studying full time at UTS. She gained the qualification of Juris Doctor and was admitted to the Legal Profession in August 2008.

Dempsey went on to work as a criminal lawyer with Aboriginal Legal Service in Redfern and Nowra, with a particular interest in Juvenile justice. Dempsey again relocated to Forbes in January 2010 taking on the new challenge of working for the Family Violence Prevention Legal Service, Binaal Billa, becoming Principal in May 2011.

In February 2012, Binaal Billa FVPLS invited victims of domestic violence to attend the “Parliament to the people” forum to debate the domestic violence trends and issues in NSW. The victims took the opportunity to relate their experience to the Standing Committee on Social Issues which consist of five members of the Upper House. This is indeed a voice!

During her time with Binaal Billa FVPLS Dempsey has worked extremely hard in successfully obtaining compensation for her clients, and is rewarded by the fact that justice has been served and her clients suffering has been acknowledge and compensated.

Dempsey remains a committed advocate for the people and continues to work towards giving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault a voice.

 

KATRINA SHEEN – SOLICITOR

The first employment Katrina had working in the legal sphere was employment with the Local Courts at 17 years of age.  As a clerk at the Port Macquarie Court House she realised law was an ingrained interest and something she wanted to pursue.  At 18 years of age she joined the Royal Australian Air Force where she was employed in communications and as a Military Police Officer.

When Katrina left the military, she worked as a clerk/paralegal in a number of legal firms; working in areas of law that ranged from Workers Compensation; Motor Vehicle Accident Law; Public Liability Law; Victims Compensation; Family Law; Criminal Law; debt recovery and Civil Claims.

Katrina decided to become a Solicitor and studied law through correspondence, commencing her studies in September of 1995. Katrina was admitted as a Solicitor to the Supreme Court of NSW in 2001 and registered on the High Court Roll in 2004.

Moving to Sydney in 1999, Katrina was employed with the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, her  main role as a solicitor within Legal Aid was criminal law defence representation/advocacy and family law mediation/representation/ advocacy.  Her last role with Legal Aid was as the Solicitor-in-Charge of the Drug Court.  Katrina both professionally and personally enjoyed being an integral part of influencing the reduction in drug use & criminal activity within the community via rehabilitation in lieu of gaol, in the acknowledgment of  the drug- crime nexus.  Katrina was one of the Senior Officers involved in the expansion of the Drug Court to the Hunter area and she was also involved in the initial stages of the implementation of the Drug Court to inner Sydney.  Katrina still maintains strong links with Legal Aid NSW.

Enlisting into the Army Reserve Legal Core in 2004 Katrina was involved in representing and giving advice to Headquarters Command and soldiers on areas involving; Defence Administrative Law; Defence Disciplinary Law;  and Operations Law.

Katrina and her husband moved to Forbes in early 2012.  Since then Katrina has become an integral member of the Binaal Billa Legal Team.  Katrina is working in the areas of general practice but especially in the fields of Family Law; Care and Protection; and Victims Compensation.  Katrina is able to give advice and minor assistance to clients on other areas of law and refer them onto other legal and non-legal resources where required.

Katrina is very interested and aware of the need of ongoing community awareness and education in aspects of law which inhibit and effect people in everyday life.  Katrina is proactive in changing the community’s attitude towards family violence and committed to giving back to the community in her dedication to the pursuit of justice.

 

David pic  DAVID WATTS – PROGRAM COORDINATOR

David lived, studied and worked in the Hawkesbury region for 35 years, developing and running multiple businesses centred around hospitality and retail. After being self-employed for fifteen years, David returned to university to study a post graduate Diploma in Education through UNE. Qualifying as a Teacher and a love for wide-open spaces are what brought David to the Central West in 2011.

It was during his experiences as a Teacher that David realised his natural capacity for listening to and advocating for children and the wider community.

Drawing upon his business and education background, David is passionate about being part of the highly skilled and widely experienced team at Binaal Billa FVPLS in continuing to deliver the unique and vital service throughout Central West communities.

 

Renee image  RENEE ELLISON – COUNSELLOR & SUPPORT WORKER

Renee is a local in the Forbes area, and having always lived here in Forbes she maintains strong connections to the community and has a wealth of local knowledge, as well as a  broad referral base  for  the services that are available to help those in need.

Joining the team at Binaal Billa in 2012, Renee is utilising her skills & qualifications through counselling, community work, networking and referral as well as assisting the solicitors by providing legal support and administrative assistance.

Renee is committed to early intervention and prevention and promotes awareness and education by working with the schools to help educate the children; she is dedicated to preventing family violence and sexual assault within our communities, and grateful of the opportunity to make a difference within her current role at Binaal Billa FVPLS.

      Renee is a registered Justice of the Peace.

 

    Kelly pic  KELLY BOWDEN – COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICER

Kelly is a Wiradjuri woman born in Condobolin and moved to Forbes in her teenage years. Kelly has strong family ties to culture, country & community.

Kelly works extensively within our local community commencing work with Binaal Billa FVPLS in 2012.

Through Kelly’s role she works with the solicitors to assist the clients as they navigate the legal process, providing support which is a vital component of her position.

Kelly is also responsible for promoting awareness of the Legal Service that Binaal Billa FVPLS provides including outreach Court and community support as well as specific programs targeting victims of Family Violence and/or Sexual Assault.

Kelly is a valued team member and continues to undertake a range of further education through community-based programs to maintain her learning and development.

 

tracy pic  TRACY REID – LEGAL SECRETARY

Tracy was raised in Forbes and has lived in the local area all her life.  Living in the community has given her vast local knowledge, strong family, and community ties.

Tracy has worked in the legal sector for a period of 12 years as a Legal Clerk/administrative assistant; assisting in all areas of law ranging from conveyancing, estates, Wills, Probate, Family Law.  During this time Tracy has been heavily involved in liaising with the clients and enjoy’s assisting in all areas where possible.

Tracy is a registered Justice of the Peace.

Joining the team at Binaal Billa in 2012 has seen Tracy extremely happy not only to continue her line of work as legal clerk/administrative assistant, but to also work alongside her colleagues in their pursuit to provide awareness and education in prevention of family violence and sexual assault within our communities.