About Us

Who we are

We are champions for gender equity in Melbourne’s west.

We provide services that help victim survivors of family violence. We support communities to lead safe and healthy lives, by running social and education programs for people who experience inequity.

We also partner with other organisations to advocate for equal rights and the prevention of family violence.


Who we are

GenWest formed in 1988, initially as the Women’s Health Service for the West and then as Women’s Health West.

In 2021, after extensive consultation with communities in the west, we made the historic decision to change our name to GenWest.

We are a membership organisation, and our members help to strengthen our voice as we advocate for equal rights in Melbourne’s west. It’s free to join – find out more about the benefits of joining us a member.

What we do

We are an organisation working towards gender equity in the western metropolitan region of Melbourne.

We provide services that help victim-survivors of family violence.

We also support communities to lead safe and healthy lives, by running social and education programs for people who experience inequity.

We also partner with other organisations to advocate for equal rights and the prevention of family violence.

How we are funded

Our funding is mostly made up of local, state and federal government grants.

Most of our grants come from state government departments such as the Department of Health and Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. We also receive funding from the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

GenWest is incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981. We are a Public Benevolent Institution endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient and are therefore entitled to receive tax deductible donations. Make a donation to GenWest.

Our constitution

Download GenWest's constitution:

Our Values

Our values are core to everything we do at GenWest. They underpin our organisational vision and purpose, and guide our everyday decisions and actions.



We centre freedom from oppression, discrimination and violence in all our work. We take responsibility for behaving and working in ways that promote freedom and we are accountable for the actions we take.



We foreground connection to ourselves, each other, our clients, the community, the land and the environment. Connection is fundamental to achieving our purpose. We believe in the strength of belonging, of being inclusive and in working together to achieve change.



We practice fierce, revolutionary love. We are open to all ways of knowing and being. We treat each other with respect, kindness and compassion and are committed to creating an environment where all feel seen, heard and valued.



We embrace and nurture creativity and curiosity. We reflect critically, ask questions, listen and actively pursue learning. We see uncertainty as opening up spaces for new possibilities.



We uphold human rights and in solidarity, work together to disrupt injustice and transform lives. We unapologetically challenge systems that disempower while simultaneously acknowledging that we are part of these systems.

Our clients and communities

GenWest’s clients and communities are individuals and groups in Melbourne’s west. This includes women, LGBTIQA+ folk, First Nations peoples, people with a disability, migrant and refugee communities, children, young people and older people.

Our clients and communities are the groups that we exist to support, and how we define them articulates what inclusive feminism and intersectionality mean to us.

We recognise that Melbourne’s west is not homogenous, which is why we talk about communities rather than a singular community.

We specifically note the inclusion of members of LGBTQIA+ communities, as well as children and young people, in our service cohort, reflecting evolving understandings of gender identity and power, alongside the overwhelming impact of family violence on women.

Our vision and purpose

Our vision is gender equity in the west.

Our vision outlines the society we want to live in and are working to create. This is our everyday inspiration and our long-term aspiration.

two circles in purple
Our purpose is to achieve gender equity across Melbourne’s west so that everyone can lead healthy and safe lives, free from family violence and oppression.

Our purpose describes our part in advancing gender equity in Melbourne’s west. Given gender equity comprises many elements, our purpose clarifies the areas that are most relevant to Melbourne’s west in light of our strengths and the important work of our partners.

Our work is guided by our 2020-2025 strategic plan.

GenWest ΓÇö graphic shape 3

Our board directors

Our board directors govern our organisation by setting our strategic direction, ensuring our operations are legally compliant and our finances are sound.

The directors are drawn from and elected by our individual and organisational members – the community and sector in which we work. If you are an eligible member and interested in joining our board, please contact us.

Karen McIlwain_

Karen McIlwain

Board Chair

Karen is a strategy, coaching and facilitation consultant who has a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology/Psychology) and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration.

Nicole Bieske

Nicole Bieske

Deputy Chair

Nicole is the Director of Social Policy and Research Centre at the Brotherhood of St. Laurence, previously the Manager of the Delivery Strategy Team at Homes Victoria. She has PhD in human rights and is a qualified lawyer.

Adele Drago-Stevens_

Adele Drago-Stevens


Adele is the Corporate Director at Macedon Ranges Shire Council. She has a Masters of Tertiary Education Management.

Elaine Montegriffo

Elaine Montegriffo

Board Director

Elaine is the CEO at LiverWELL (previously Hep Vic). She is an experienced CEO and Non-Executive Director, with diverse senior leadership experience across commercial and for purpose sectors. Elaine holds a Masters in Social Science and International Development.

Black and white photo of Rebecca Burdon, GenWest board member

Rebecca Burdon

Board Director

Rebecca is a legal practitioner, advocate and people leader having spent most of her career in the government and criminal justice sectors. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts, Social Work (Hons), Masters of Criminology (For Psych) and Bachelor of Laws.

Black and white photo of Donna Maloney, GenWest board member

Donna Maloney

Board Director

Donna is a Manager Finance Business Partnering at the Department of Education, and has extensive Government sector finance and leadership experience. Donna holds a Bachelor of Business in Accounting and is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).

Contact us

Call us

1800 436 937

Email us


Visit us

317-319 Barkly Street


Naarm/Melbourne VIC 3011

More info
Hand with GenWest local government areas