Our Leadership

DV West operates services at 5 discreet sites. Each site’s Manager has a high level of expertise and oversees and supports the site operations. The staff at each site comprises Specialist Domestic Violence Workers. Our Managers make up our Leadership Team and are responsible for reviewing policy and practice and contributing to the continual improvement of our services.

Vanessa Donald-Smith

Manager DV West Nepean

Vanessa is DV West’s long-standing worker and has been part of DV West’s journey from the start, therefore she brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the organisation. She has been employed permanently since 1994 after starting as a casual child support worker. Before becoming Manager, she worked as a crisis worker and outreach worker.

Vanessa loves working for DV West and she finds it incredibly rewarding to see women and children become empowered and watch their confidence grow. She enjoys learning from clients and staff and continues to be amazed by the workers’ passion for their work and the women and children that they support.

Vanessa is proud to be part of an organisation that is flexible to the needs and circumstances of women and children and to work for an organisation that is respected for its expertise, work and reputation in the field.

In her down time, she loves to binge-watch shows, read James Patterson novels and do tapestries.

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Heather-Mae Peterson-Connor

Manager DV West Blacktown/Hills

Heather has worked in both the NGO and Government sectors in the domestic violence and family violence sector for the last 10 years. Heather has been with DV West since September 2019. Prior to that she worked on a pilot program across NSW that enabled survivors of Domestic Violence to access their partner’s criminal history to support them to make informed decisions about their relationships.

She has worked in different refuges across NSW and has a passion for supporting women and children to live their lives free from violence.

Heather hopes to use her community development skills to build a strong network of community support for the women and children who access DV West in the Blacktown/Hills area.

In her spare time, Heather likes attending community events and supporting small ethical sourced business’s at weekend markets.

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Danae Amies

Manager DV West After Hours

Danae has worked as a DV Specialist for over 10 years. For the last 6 years she has worked with DV West. Danae started as a case worker and outreach worker and went on to become a senior case worker, before taking on her current Manager position. Danae has a strong and passionate belief that if we can be fully present with people and hold a compassionate and non-judgemental space that they will find their own empowerment.

Danae has strengthened this belief in her own practice of breathwork and has in her own time become a qualified breathwork practitioner.

Danae is proud to work for DV West because she feels that the organisation does not only provide a high level of professional and compassionate support but is progressive. She is humbled and honoured to share in women’s journeys and amazed by their strength, resilience and courage.

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Renee Ryan

Acting Manager DV West Wirrawee Gunya

Renee is a proud Wiradjuri woman whose family is originally from Dubbo in Western NSW. She is a mother to 3 children and has lived and worked within the Nepean region for 40 years where she has strong community links.

She has worked for DV West for 6 years as an Aboriginal Domestic Violence Specialist and more recently, as Acting Manager.

She has a background in financial management with a local Aboriginal community organization. Seeing the work of DV West, inspired Renee to change her career path and provide support to Aboriginal women and children in her local community.

She has a strong passion for empowering women who are escaping domestic and/or family Violence and believes that the work that we do assists women to take back control of their lives and to live free from violence.

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