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Putting an end to violence against women

7 March 2022 at 5:03 pm
Maggie Coggan
Hayley Foster is the CEO of Full Stop Australia, an organisation supporting people affected by sexual, domestic or family violence. She’s this week’s Changemaker. 

Maggie Coggan | 7 March 2022 at 5:03 pm


Putting an end to violence against women
7 March 2022 at 5:03 pm

Hayley Foster is the CEO of Full Stop Australia, an organisation supporting people affected by sexual, domestic or family violence. She’s this week’s Changemaker. 

For the past 20 years, Hayley Foster has worked across the business, social services, health, and justice sectors, with diverse population groups across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote Australia; advocating for inclusive change with a social justice lens.

Putting the people with lived experience at the centre of her work, Foster is passionate about turning evidence into action and working alongside others to put a full stop to sexual, domestic or family violence.

See also: How can you help if someone you know is in an abusive relationship?

After nearly three years of heading up Women’s Safety NSW, Foster joined Full Stop (formerly Rape and Domestic Violence Services) in 2021, where she is leading the charge on ending gender-based violence by providing evidence-based support, education and advocacy around Australia. 

She currently holds a number of national advisory positions to support her aim, including the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research Sexual Assault Advisory Panel, the Australian Institute of Criminology Advisory Group on Focused Deterrence and Intimate Partner Violence, and the Australian government’s Advisory Group on the National Plan to End Domestic Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

In this week’s Changemaker, Foster discusses her path to leading Full Stop Australia, staying grounded in tough conditions, and why she loves her job. 

How did you get involved with Full Stop Australia? 

I joined Full Stop Australia in June 2021 when we were known as Rape and Domestic Violence Services. I was excited to join a world-class team of experts delivering essential trauma specialist services and to expand my advocacy from NSW onto a national level. At the end of November last year, we launched our new brand as Full Stop Australia, which has allowed us to continue building up our national reputation providing support, education and advocacy around Australia.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a social change leader? 

Yes absolutely. I’ve been involved in this industry for over 20 years, having worked in frontline specialist sexual and domestic violence services, family law practice, family disputes resolution, accredited behaviour change, violence prevention and policy and law reform. All my advocacy work is undertaken with a social justice lens and is about ensuring people with lived experience are at the forefront of decision-making.

How do you manage challenges and remain grounded?

I believe the key to dealing with challenges and remaining grounded is remembering your purpose and why you do the work you do. Passion and a drive to create systemic change is a big motivator for my work. I remind myself often of the women all over the country who will be able to live better lives as an outcome of the changes we make in this sector and that motivates me to keep striving for more.

What do you love most about your current job? 

I love being able to advocate to create lasting change across many different issues faced by those impacted by sexual, domestic and family violence across Australia. At the moment, I’m extremely passionate about our work improving supporting sexual violence survivors. In particular, our current efforts advocating for the NSW government to adequately fund the NSW Sexual Violence Helpline. Whilst sexual assault reporting has increased by over 70 per cent in the past 10 years in NSW, funding for the helpline has not increased at all to meet the demand. We are determined to make sure sexual violence survivors have the support they need, whenever they need it.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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