Respect Victoria announces new Chief Executive Officer

After an extensive search of high calibre candidates, the Board of Respect Victoria is pleased to announce that Helen Bolton has been appointed CEO and will commence in early October.

Ms Bolton is a highly respected leader with more than 30 years experience in the specialist sexual and family violence sectors. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in responding to and preventing sexual violence and family violence in Victoria. 

For the past 13 years, Ms Bolton has been CEO of the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Centre, one of the largest integrated specialist services in Victoria that covers the Barwon region, and is based in Geelong. 

"I am thrilled at the prospect of joining Respect Victoria and being able to contribute to their vision for a Victoria where everyone is safe, equal and respected. They are the leading organisation for the prevention of family violence and violence against women in Victoria and have an excellent group of committed staff who I am looking forward to working with. I feel very fortunate to be chosen for this role and working with the Board, staff and partner organisations."

Ms Bolton is a passionate advocate for gender equality and social justice. She has been an integral member of a number of sector and peak body Boards, including The Victoria Police Family Violence Academy Advisory Board, Barwon Community Legal Service, DV Vic leading to its merger with DVRC which then became Safe and Equal, National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence, Board of Full Stop Australia, and The Deakin University Vice Chancellors Sexual Harm Committee. 

Chair of Respect Victoria, Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon said the Board and staff are excited to work with Helen.

“We have met with an incredible field of candidates and we are thrilled to appoint Helen. Helen joins Respect Victoria at an exciting time for our organisation, with a new campaign launching later this year, the development of the ground breaking Ballarat Saturation Model, 16 Days of Activisim and the Walk Against Family Violence coming up and the delivery of important masculinities research on the horizon.” 

Professor Fitz-Gibbon thanked Serina McDuff for her continued leadership of the organisation. 

“The Board and I want to sincerely thank and acknowledge the outstanding leadership of Serina McDuff who has acted as CEO since September last year."

Professor Fitz-Gibbon said that Ms McDuff has been instrumental in building and maintaining strong relationships with key partners across the sector and the State and Federal Governments, working collaboratively to drive action on gender-based violence. 

“Serina has led our wonderful team in the delivery of our strategy, including the development of the recently announced Ballarat Saturation Model, that sees Victoria at the forefront of groundbreaking efforts to prevent gendered violence”, Professor Fitz-Gibbon said. 

Ms McDuff will continue as acting CEO until early October before resuming her role as part of the Respect Victoria executive team. Serina will continue to play a key role driving the implementation of the Ballarat Saturation Model.