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Dr Samara McPhedran

Dr Samara McPhedran is a Senior Research Fellow with the Violence Research and Prevention Program at Griffith University. Dr McPhedran returned to academia in 2012 after spending a number of years at the Executive Level in the Australian Public Service, where she worked extensively in social policy development and analysis.

Before joining the public service, Dr McPhedran was Director of a private research consultancy business. She has over 50 journal articles, book chapters and conference presentations on topics ranging from suicide prevention and interpersonal violence, through to disability policy and rural issues.  She has particular expertise in firearm-related injury and gun policy.

Samara was responsible for establishing Australia’s first Homicide Research Unit at Griffith University, where she is the Director.


Deputy CHair 

Leanne Pullen

Leanne became engaged with QHVSG in 2012 after her son Tim was listed as a missing person. Even though so far six people have been sentenced in relation to Tim’s homicide, Tim’s remains have never been located.

Leanne’s main focus and passion is on providing support for members especially those living in rural and regional areas. Leanne is a passionate Peer Support Leader and enjoys being able to support fellow members and provide a voice for them. Leanne is also dedicated Court Supporter.

Leanne brings extensive fundraising experience. From 2006 to 2012 she was involved in raising funds and awareness for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (QLD). During this time Leanne raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help purchase lifesaving medical equipment for RFDS aircraft.

Leanne’s family has appreciated immensely the support provided by QHVSG and she dedicates he time to give back. Leanne has a little verse which she believe epitomises the wonderful care given by QHVSG –

“Thanks for showing me that even on the darkest days the sun is still there, just behind the clouds, waiting to shine again – Lisa Harlow”



Monique Ferrario

Monique became a member of QHVSG when her 36 year old brother Mitchell was murdered in April, 2009.

Monique is a professional Early childhood educator and has run her own successful business for the last 18 years.  She has been a volunteer with QHVSG since 2010 and in 2015 first served on the QHVSG Board of Directors as a General Board Member.

As a Peer Support Group Leader Monique is aware of the importance of peer support. She has supported many members through home visits, telephone support, Court support and facilitating the monthly Gold Coast Support Group meetings.

Monique is committed to raising awareness in the community, supporting our education programs and providing advocacy for our members. She has shown total commitment to making a difference in the life of our members.

Monique is a dedicated fundraiser and has volunteered at many events.  Monique is innovative and has been involved in the organising events such as the 2015 Brisbane Walk for Support and Family Fun Day, Annual Night of Recognition and Christmas Celebration and the Children’s Christmas Party. Monique was also a key driver behind the Member Weekend retreats which commenced in 2018.

Monique was recognised for her volunteer efforts in 2014 and 2018 when she was awarded the QHVSG Volunteer of the year. Monique feels privileged to support our members in memory of her brother, and finds a great deal of comfort in surrounding herself with people who have experienced  homicide in their lives.




Julie became a member of QHVSG in July 2011, when her son Damian Leeding was murdered.

Initially Julie went to the meetings for support, but it soon became apparent to that this organisation was unique in what it did for its members. Julie realised that she would like to be a part of helping others through this horrific journey we have to face, and consequently she have served on the board previously.

Julie is committed to supporting the board and staff to achieve greater outcomes for members in all facets of the organisation, be it support, legislative reform, education programs and research projects: building awareness and developing an inclusive engagement strategy.

Julie is a keen advocate of law reform, and will continue to support members by helping to implement new strategies for law reform and advocacy to achieve positive outcomes for our members and continues to strengthen existing relationships, while forging new ones with community organisations and government. Julie helps to develop new and innovative programmes to re-engage with our members to identify support mechanisms.

Julie is currently chairperson for the Body Corporate committee where she lives on the Gold Coast. She have previously worked with girl guides being a leader, and been active with many sporting groups, such as Nippers, soccer and swimming clubs.Julie has a strong and various ties with the community and have utilised these to great success in helping to source and secure major prizes for our fundraising efforts.

Julie has helped with the Marketing and Communications Projects with QHVSG Brisbane Family Fun Day, Walk for Support, International Women’s Day Dining With Daisies breakfast, Gold Coast Family Fun Day and Walk for Support and the Inaugural Annual Night of Recognition and Christmas Celebration.




Ian vowed to honour her memory where he can and has been a White Ribbon ambassador for over 10 years. Ian started the charity Safe Streets, and is very keen to serve QHVSG.

Ian brings over 40 years’ experience in the business sectors of marketing, events, finance, strategic/operational planning, insurance and banking. He has held senior positions in Not For Profit charities with DGR status in and CEO and General Manager positions in community, health, public safety and emergency rescue.

Ian is focusing his skills and experiences on the help, advice and support that QHVSG offer to victims of homicide.


Chief Executive Officer

Brett Thompson

Brett has a Bachelor of Education and has been involved in executive level leadership in the not-for profit sector since 2011.

After a successful twenty year career in Secondary education, Brett made the shift to the not-for-profit sector. This change was inspired after undertaking nine years of voluntary work as an ambulance officer where Brett found a great sense of personal satisfaction in being able to help people who in crisis.

Brett has worked on government legislative review groups, been a delegate at International Sporting Associations and was the Queensland and Northern Territory Education Program Manager with Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Brett currently sits on QLD’s first Steering Committee for Restorative Practices in Mental Health settings and serves as a Victims’ Advocate on the Parole Board QLD.

Brett was appointed as CEO of QHVSG in May 2017.


“I am honored to be the Patron of the Queensland Homicide Victims’ Support Group (QHVSG). It is not until you are close to a family which is affected by an act of homicide that you truly appreciate the long lasting devastating legacy that is left behind. It is impossible to overstate the important work and support that is undertaken by the QHVSG in supporting families in the aftermath of a tragic homicide. I encourage you to explore the valuable information and support available and to reach out to QHVSG if you or someone you know has been affected by homicide.”

Commissioner of Police, Queensland Police Service


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