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

Mrs Lesley Taylor has more than 20 years in the child protection sector. She has worked with Dept of Children & Families & spent the last 15 years in various roles within NAPCAN. Lesley has a bachelor of Community Welfare & is extremely vocal & active in our communities ensuring prevention is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.


Kylie Captain

Kylie Captain is a proud Gamilaroi woman with a passion for inspiring positive change and empowerment. Her bestselling books, Dream Big and Imagine the What If and co-authored book, Be That Teacher who Makes a Difference & Lead Aboriginal Education for All Students, are touching the lives of countless individuals across Australia and beyond.

As the Founding Director of Dream Big Education Wellbeing & Education and President of the Aboriginal Studies Association, Kylie brings over two decades of expertise in Aboriginal education, child protection and community services.

Kylie’s passion for making a difference is evident in her impactful Aboriginal cultural capability training, student workshops, speaking engagements and professional learning for teachers and leaders. With her incredible journey and achievements, Kylie’s vision stands as a beacon of hope, motivation, and transformation for countless individuals, one student, one school, and one organisation at a time.

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?’. 


George Patrikios

George has over 25 years of experience in the corporate world, where his time has been spent in services roles within travel, professional services and the transportation sector.  He has had a wide range of positions including Sales, Internal Audit, Financial Control and Head of Operations.  In these roles, he brings a measured response and practical execution.  George holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland is a CPA member.  George is a people leader and is passionate about delivery of services both internally and to clients. Throughout his career, he has found time to engage in charitable events as sponsored by his places of employment as well as volunteering his time to assist children in school run programs. 

He has held Executive and committee positions on various School P&Fs, where community and fundraising for the benefit of children have been paramount.  George passionately advocates within the school system for opportunities for children of all abilities and diverse backgrounds.  He has crystallised his focus and is fervent in his desire to provide the next generation with better and more fulfilling choices. George calls Brisbane home, but has a multi-cultural background, having grown up in South Africa where his grandparents settled from Greece.


Richard Weston

Richard is the CEO of Maari Ma Health based in Broken Hill in far west NSW aka the Murdi Paaki Region. It is the country of the Darling River tribes. From January 2021 to February, 2023 he was New South Wales’ inaugural Deputy Children’s Guardian in the Office of the Children’s Guardian (the OCG).

He has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Affairs for 30 years. 23 of those 30 years has been as a CEO in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations at the regional and national level and as a statutory officer in the NSW government.

His work to help establish the Healing Foundation as a credible national body by building an evidence base of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge about what works when communities, families and individuals understand what trauma is and create their own healing journey, has brought trauma informed approaches into policy making and human services practice. Over his 9 years as CEO (2010-2019) the Healing Foundation funded 175 healing projects that support 45,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on their healing journeys and employed 700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the projects.

After a 15-month stint with the SNAICC, the peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander body for children and 2 years in the NSW Deputy Children’s Guardian role he has returned to work for Maari Ma Health as their CEO, where it all started. Maari Ma has grown into a leading community controlled Aboriginal health service and is a recognised leader in NSW and nationally in public health approaches to primary health care.

Richard is a member of the Referendum Engagement Group appointed by Minister Linda Burney to assist the government by providing advice on how to engage with the Australian community on the referendum process and to support the case for constitutional change. He also worked on the national Voice Design group which was one of the groups formed under the leadership of former Minister Ken Wyatt in the previous government.


Kaylene Gaffney

Kaylene Gaffney  FCA, GAICD, MBA (International Business), Grad Dip (Professional Accounting), BBUS (Accountancy) from QUT.

Kaylene has had a career in senior financial roles for over 25 years in the retail, health, aviation, telecommunications and information technology sectors.

She holds an executive role in the health sector and is a Non‑Executive Director and as Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee for Universal Store Holdings Limited.

Kaylene has previously served as a Non‑Executive Director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of formerly ASX listed National Veterinary Care Ltd, MSL Solutions Ltd and Wotif.com (all delisted). In 2016, she served as Queensland State Chair of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.


Rob Ryan

Rob Ryan has been a leader in the community services and charity sector in Queensland and across Australia for 30 years. Rob currently works at Life Without Barriers as the National Executive Lead in the Emerging Business Team. Rob was the former Chief Executive Officer of Key Assets, a foster care and children services agency where he had responsibility for operations in the Asia Pacific Region. Prior to this, Rob had senior roles with the Departments responsible for Child Safety and Youth Justice in the Queensland State Government for a period of nineteen years.

In 2009 Rob was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study child protection across the United Kingdom, USA and Canada.

Rob was the former Chair of the Forde Foundation Board of Advice in Queensland. He was previously the Deputy Convenor on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Advisory Council and currently sits as a Board Director for the Create Foundation.

Rob is also the Chair of the Children in Care Collective. Rob holds a Bachelor of Social Work, Post Graduate Certificates (Family Therapy, HR and IR) and a Master of Professional Education and Training. Rob is also a Justice of the Peace (Qualified).


Stuart Aggs

Coming soon…

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.