We are a small team of doers and thinkers, working part-time but always passionate about the issue of social violence. We are a young team and young people are at the centre of our work.
We are energetic, self-motivated and collaborative, committed to working together to achieve our vision of ending social violence.
If you are interested in joining the team as a staff member or volunteer, visit our news section to view any current opportunities.
Geoff Smith - acting CEO
Geoff brings great experience of social and behavioural research across a variety of sectors – including food relief, blood donation, education, and public health. Geoff is committed to translatable research for organisations that improve lives using evidence based change and advocacy to do good in the community.
Geoff is interested in understanding why people behave in positive and negative manners and how people can come together to achieve beneficial behaviour change. Geoff’s passion is the use of innovative methods and human centred thinking to solve problems, build capacity of people and organisations and to drive academic agendas.
Ending social violence matters because…one act of violence or the threat of violence impacts more people than just the victim and the perpetrator. The outcomes reach far into the community – families, friends, work colleagues, bystanders are all impacted. Long term results include physical harm, mental and emotional problems and a financial burden on those involved and the broader community. In other words social violence can harm us all – it wrecks lives.
Ben O’Toole – Education Officer
In 2007, Ben was a victim of a one-punch assault. He suffered a severe brain haemorrhage as a result of his head hitting the concrete. He was lucky enough to not only recover, but also retain all physical and cognitive abilities. In his role as Education Officer, Ben shares his story and educates young people on the dangers of social violence. Ben also holds a Bachelor of Psychological Science degree from the Australian Catholic University.
Ending social violence matters because...it doesn't just impact the victim or the perpetrator. It impacts friends, families, co-workers, strangers, emergency workers, team mates, clubs, communities; it impacts everyone.
Originally from Belgium, Saskia has been calling Melbourne home since 2002. With a background in marketing, events and account management, in both corporate and government organisations, Saskia joined Step Back Think as the Marketing and Communications Manager. She is passionate about using her skills to grow the Step Back Think brand and to bring Australians together to help create a society free from social violence. In her spare time Saskia runs a kids’ party business where she can channel her inner child and let her creative juices flow.
Although she doesn’t take herself too seriously, she does takes her role at Step Back Think and the issue of social violence very seriously and hopes, together with the rest of the Step Back Think team, to make the Australian community aware this issue can no longer be ignored.
Ending social violence matters because … we all deserve to come home safely.
Eden Giagnorio - Campaign Coordinator
Eden joins Step Back Think as Campaign Coordinator, with experience in strategic communications, marketing and public relations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media and Communications, with a minor in Gender Studies and recognises the powerful role that media can play in changing hearts and minds to create cultural change.
As Campaign Coordinator, Eden hopes to harness her communications skills to advocate for Step Back Think and help create a society free from social violence.
Ending social violence matters because…we cannot afford to ignore it.
Virginia Krantz - Communications Coordinator
Virginia has experience across social media marketing, communications and advertising. She holds a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Marketing at RMIT. As Communications Coordinator, Virginia hopes to use her communications and marketing experience to increase awareness and understanding of social violence.
Ending social violence matters because…the impacts are devastating, wide-reaching and preventable.
Rosie Francis – Research Intern
Rosie is a law student at the University of Melbourne and is currently in her second year of the Juris Doctor. In addition to the intellectual stimulation that law provides, Rosie’s studies have opened her eyes to the diverse range of social and legal issues that are prevalent in today’s society. Her exposure to the law and interaction with a cohort of passionate peers has sparked an interest in social justice and advocacy; this encouraged Rosie to get involved with Step Back Think . As a volunteer research intern Rosie is hoping to marry her legal background with her interest in social violence prevention, and in doing so encourage discourse in the community of this preventable issue.
Ending social violence matters because…a momentary lapse in judgement can take away someone’s world and destroy your own. Let’s take a step back - think about the consequences of a mindless action and make the choice to save the victim, the community and the legal system from unnecessary heartache.
Ellen is a Criminology student at Monash University, currently undergoing her final Honours year. Within this discipline, Ellen’s focus is on family violence in Australia, with a particular emphasis on legal responses to family violence. Throughout her studies, Ellen has engaged with criminological theories of male violence and hegemonic masculinity and at Step Back Think, Ellen hopes to explore the ways in which these understandings of violence may be transferred to a context of social violence. In her role as a Research Intern at Step Back Think, Ellen wants to utilise her skills to enhance an understanding of social violence and subsequently prevent its occurrence.
Ending social violence matters because…it is so engrained in society and unless we do something now, things won’t change.
Claire is in her first year of a Masters of Public Health Student at the University of Melbourne. Her undergraduate degree was in Biomedical Science graduating with Honours focusing on cardiovascular metabolism in diabetic populations. With her extensive knowledge in epidemiology and biostatistics, Claire’s main focus within the organisation is create and collate Step Back Think’s Social Violence Register. Since joining the team, she has focused on calculating the prevalence of social violence related deaths as well as engaging with other forms of incident data to help create a better picture of how social violence impacts the community.
Ending social violence matters because…. it could happen to anybody we care about at any time or place. Somebody we love could be gone within a few seconds as a result of a completely preventable act.
David Hardy - Patron
In 2016, David joined Step Back Think as our first Patron. Since David’s son Joshua Hardy was murdered in an act of social violence in 2014, David has advocated tirelessly for positive change. He believes in the power of education to drive cultural change and shares his story with schools, sporting clubs and community groups to raise the profile of the issue.
As Patron and a parent, David has taken a leading role in our awareness-raising initiatives, speaking out about the impact of social violence on him and his family. In his role as Patron, David hopes to encourage young men to step back and think before they react and make a split second decision that they will regret forever.
Step Back Think Board
John O'Donoghue, Chairperson
John has been a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers for 11 years. He is an assurance partner on listed and large multinational companies, including companies in the Mining and Energy industries.John brings financial reporting, risk management and corporate governance skills to the Board. He is passionate about the Step Back Think mission, both as a father of teenage children and as someone whose own life has been changed by social violence impacting on close friends.
Scott Holmes, Secretary
Scott has had an extensive and diverse career focussed on gender equity and the prevention of violence against women. Scott started his early-career as a librarian, is a trained Anglican Minister, worked as a Project Officer with the Darebin City Council, Healthy Workplaces Senior Advisor with the YMCA Victoria, presented to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Family - and has recently joined Our Watch, a national prevention organisation established to drive nation-wide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that lead to violence against women and children. Scott brings an incredible passion to the Step Back Think Board and crucial insight into the deeply embedded cultural practices of gender inequality and sexism that drive the rates of violence against women.
Jilly Charlwood is a marketing and communications professional with more than 10 years’ experience in producing social marketing and communications campaigns that engage communities and drive measurable behaviour change.
She is currently Director of Media and Communications at Our Watch, where she is responsible for leading large-scale social marketing campaigns to prevent violence against women and their children. Jilly’s previous roles have included leadership positions at WorkSafe Victoria, the Victoria State Emergency Service and the University of British Columbia in Canada.
Jilly is a passionate advocate for the role of social marketing in changing the attitudes, norms and behaviours that drive violence.
Kerryn is an experienced teacher working in Australia and as an Educational Consultant in New York City. Kerryn and her family of 8 siblings live daily with the impact of a one punch attack which left their oldest brother with an Acquired Brain Inquiry. At the age of 64 he now resides in an old people’s home. That one violent act has impacted on many lives particularly him who has not be able to fulfill his potential as a husband, father, brother and uncle.
Ending social Violence matters because...the impact is irreversible and far reaching.
Shakira Silvestri has more than eight years' media and communications experience across the public and not-for-profit sectors. This includes working at the National Gallery of Victoria and The Royal Children's Hospital Foundation, where she is currently the Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations. Shakira and her team are responsible for the Foundation's external and internal communications, including campaigns, media management, social media, advertising and publications. Shakira has lived overseas, spending two years in London working in media and communications. She is passionate about working in the not-for-profit sector to communicate the positive impact organisations like Step Back Think have on society to inspire support and to drive change.
Shivaan has significant experience working in the not-for-profit sector and as an adviser to governments, corporates, NGOs and community organisations on social policy issues. He has worked across a range of sectors including education, justice, children, youth and families and Indigenous affairs, and has a passion for purpose-driven ventures that aim to break cycles of inequality and influence real societal change. Shivaan is currently a Manager at PwC’s Indigenous Consulting and brings evaluation, governance and risk management skills to the Board.