E-mail: contact@napcan.org.au    |    Phone: 02 8073 3300   
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NAPCAN > About us

Who we are

We’re Australia’s first secular for purpose organisation to focus entirely on the prevention of child abuse and neglect before it starts.

The National Association for Prevention of Child abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) was co-founded by Rosemary Sinclair AO and Christine Stewart OAM in 1987, because they saw that the abuse and neglect of children was a taboo topic in Australian society in the 1980s. They were determined to change this and create safer communities for children. They set about to achieve this vision with the assistance of a passionate team of volunteers and a range of influential and committed partners.

Since those days we have remained dedicated to bringing the eradication of child abuse and neglect to the forefront of Australian society. We are a national organisation with a small multidisciplinary team delivering services across Australia, working with thousands of volunteers trained to deliver our programs. Our passionate and capable staff work under the guidance of a highly experienced Board of Directors and we work with all levels of government, businesses, community services and organisations, families and individuals for the betterment of children and young people in our shared community.

NAPCAN has both deductible gift recipient (DGR) and public benevolent institution (PBI) status with the Australian Tax Office.

Download the ‘Summary of NAPCAN Services’ brochure.


NAPCAN’s strategy is to support and encourage changes in individual and community behaviour to stop child abuse and neglect before it starts by:

Promoting quality child abuse prevention research

Promoting quality research so the causes and impact of child abuse and neglect can be better understood and effective ways to prevent it can be developed and measured.

Advocating for child safe policies and strategies

Advocating for changes in policies and strategies that place the wellbeing and safety of children and young people first.

Coordinating National Child Protection Week and promoting the Play Your Part strategy

Coordinating National Child Protection Week and promoting the Play Your Part strategy to invite all Australians to play their part to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. “Protecting children is everyone’s business.”

Demonstrating good practice

Developing and promoting community led prevention programs and initiatives, that are evidenced based and effective in reducing the risks of abuse and neglect for children and young people, through our own programs such as Love Bites, All Children Being Safe, #Friends and promoting others through the Play Your Part Awards.

Supporting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people

Providing resources and training to support the safety and wellbeing of children and young people ranging from role based factsheets and brochures to child centred training, programs and initiatives such as the Aboriginal Girls Circle.

The Issue

The Issue

Child abuse and neglect is one of Australia’s most significant social problems.



The prevention of child abuse and neglect is a complex problem needing a whole set of strategies and actions to be successful in stopping maltreatment from occurring.

Meet The Board

NAPCAN is governed by a National Board of Directors who bring professional expertise in research, legal, finance and marketing & communications.

In addition NAPCAN has the support of an extensive network of professionals, practitioners and concerned individuals who all donate their time and expertise to support our prevention strategies.


Teresa Scott

Ms Teresa Scott is a social worker with more than 30 years’ practice experience. She has worked in the fields of mental health, homelessness, community development and child protection.

Her commitment to seeing a reduction in the numbers of children entering the child protection system inspired her to join NAPCAN in 2002.

Teresa has worked directly with children, families and communities as well as in training, program and policy development. Since 2005, Teresa has been a lecturer in social work at Griffith University in Queensland, specialising in online teaching. As well as sharing her knowledge in the prevention of violence, her current research focus is on enhancing critical thinking skills of social work students in the e-learning environment.

In 2005, Teresa was honoured in the Queensland Department of Child Safety Australia Day awards for her contribution to leadership in child abuse prevention.


Lesley Taylor



Dr Sue Packer


Dr Sue Packer is a paediatrician with a special interest in child abuse and prevention. She retired in 2011, but continues to work in the ACT Health funded Child at Risk Health Unit, which provides medical and therapy support services for ACT and adjacent NSW.

She still teaches medical students and health professionals, with an increasing involvement in teaching and consultation within the broader professional community. Her particular interest is the importance of early brain development and the impact of trauma and neglect.

Sue belongs to a number of community and professional organisations, including the Boards of Canberra Mothercraft Society (QE2 Family Centre), Families Australia, Kidsafe, Lyons Early Childhood School, Medical Women’s Society of ACT and Region, and the steering committee of the ACT Family Law Planning Network and the Early Years Chapter of ARACY. (Australian Research Alliance of Children and Youth). She is a member of the ACT Child Death Review Committee.

In 1999 she was awarded the Order of Australia for services to Paediatrics, Child Protection and the Community.


Dr Shanti Raman


Dr Shanti Raman is a paediatrician, with sub-speciality training in epidemiology and public health.

She is: Conjoint Associate Professor, UNSW Australia; Community Paediatrician for Child Protection, South Western Sydney Local Health District; Consultant Community Paediatrician, Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation; Honorary Consultant Community Paediatrician, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network; Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney.
Her special interests include health of migrants and refugees, poverty, international maternal, newborn and child health, indigenous child health, child rights, violence against women and children, and quality and safety in health.

Shanti is the paediatrician in charge of Child Protection services in South Western Sydney, and also provides consultant paediatric services to Aboriginal communities in rural and remote New South Wales.

She has established a number of specialised clinics for vulnerable children and she provides policy advice to national governments and global agencies in the Asia-Pacific region.
She is the Chair of the Technical Advisory Group for Paediatric Quality of Care for the International Pediatric Association and is a member of several working parties for global policy documents in child health and child rights.

Executive Director

Richard Cooke


Richard was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of NAPCAN in October 2010 and appointed to the Board in December 2011.

Richard brings to NAPCAN a range of skills and experience gained from Chief Executive, Financial Management, Strategy, and Project Director roles across Transport, Financial Services, Telecommunications, Media, Property and the Not for Profit Sectors.

Before joining NAPCAN he was the Managing Director of a Consulting Company and prior to that he held practice management positions at KPMG, Ernst & Young and Capgemini.

Chief Executive Officer/Director

Leesa Waters

Leesa has over 30 years of experience in the social services sector, working in youth refuges, child protection services, women’s refuges, correctional facilities, courtrooms, NGOs and government departments across Australia. This has provided her with an in-depth understanding of the issues that impact families.

Leesa holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Welfare), Bachelor of Law (Honours), Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and a current Australian practising certificate from the NSW Law Society for 2022. She worked in the Family Court of Australia and the NSW Children’s Court. She is passionate about improving the complexities between the child protection systems and the courts.

She lives in regional NSW where she is the Vice President of the Armidale Women’s Shelter. She has worked in many regional and remote communities nationally and believes the lack of services and support for families in rural and remote communities is a crisis that needs attention.

Leesa is passionate about the power of prevention and am a strong advocate for respectful relationships education (RRE) for children and young people. During her time at NAPCAN, she has helped to develop, deliver and adapt RRE for young people of different age groups across Australia.

Leesa believes we should all continually ask ourselves ‘what is it like for the child?’. 

NAPCAN acknowledges the devastating impact of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.

To all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

NAPCAN pledges a commitment to walk alongside you to create stronger communities that can protect and nurture your families and children. We acknowledge your past and present suffering, we value your cultural wisdom, and we will listen to and learn from your voices.

Download NAPCAN’s Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities.