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AVA staff

Donna Covey CBE Chief Executive

Donna has been Director of AVA since December 2014. She started her career in the Trade Union movement, specialising in equality and diversity issues, and spent 10 years as a member of the TUC General Council. She has run a number of third sector organisations, including Asthma UK and the Refugee Council. She has written extensively on health, equality and human rights issues. In 2013 Donna was awarded the CBE for services to equality and human rights. She is the executive chair of IRISi, the social enterprise delivering IRIS, the gold standard Domestic Violence intervention for General Practice.

Eva Kestner Resource Director

Eva joined AVA in March 2017 after several years working in front line politics in Scotland and London. In these roles she predominantly worked on issues around inequalities and health, including leading on a consultation on achieving women's equality. She has previously ran a parliamentary office and enjoys developing her skills in financial management. She holds a MSc in public communication management and is currently undertaking a diploma in economics.

Ruth Mason Director of Training and Innovation

Ruth has been working in the Ending Violence Against Women sector since 2006. She has worked in a variety of frontline and management roles in helplines, advocacy and counselling services (Rape Crisis and Domestic Abuse Services). She has worked on leading campaigns and policy changes for the End Violence Against Women Coalition. She is a qualified counsellor with an expertise in trauma, narrative approaches and the needs of young people. She is passionate about the role of women's services and supporting them to evidence their unique strengths based approach to empowerment as a way to create more justice for women...

Dr Lucy Allwright Project Manager

Currently on maternity leave. Lucy has been working in the violence against women and girls sector since 2008 in a variety of frontline, training and policy roles in both the charity and public sector. She is an experienced researcher, project manager and trainer with a particular specialisms in multiple disadvantage, trauma-informed practice, and expert-by-experience participation. She is committed to creating space and platforms for women to have a voice in creating change. She holds a PhD from the University of Warwick and is one of the co-founders of activist group Sisters Uncut.

Catherine Glew Project Manager

Cat joined AVA in January 2021 after six years at homelessness charity St Mungo’s. As Women’s Strategy Manager, she led development and implementation of the organisational women’s strategy. She managed a range of projects designed to improve safety and outcomes for women in homelessness settings, with a particular focus on improving responses to domestic abuse and involving survivors of VAWG and homelessness in strategy, policy influencing and research. Her background is in third sector policy, public affairs and research roles and she holds an MSc from the UCL School of Public Policy.

Maria Dardagan Funding Support Officer

Maria joined AVA in August 2019 after several years working as a fundraiser for a charity assisting asylum seekers and refugees. Before that she ran a community organisation working with Filipino migrant workers, in particular, domestic workers, care givers and nurses in the UK to organise and fight for equality and inclusion.

Hannah Sansom Training and Development Manager

Hannah has worked in the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sector for the past 10 years. She is an experienced frontline practitioner, trainer and VAWG prevention & response programme manager. Much of her work has been within refugee contexts in Africa, Asia and Europe. She has also managed a domestic abuse support service in the UK. Hannah has an MSc in Refugee Studies and conducted research on the barriers to disclosure of sexual violence within the UK asylum process.

Ellie Cox Communications & Digital Officer

Ellie joined AVA in November 2018 after interning in various women's and education charities. For the last two years she was managing a charity shop in North London, transforming it into one of Time Out's 10 best charity shops in London through developing its marketing, social media and events. She holds a Masters in English Literature with specialisms in Feminist Theory and Children's Literature.

Ella Sinclair Policy and Project Officer

Ella joined AVA via the Charityworks graduate placement scheme after completing her BSc in Social Anthropology, with a focus on immigration policy and racial inequality in the UK. Throughout her time at university, she volunteered with local services supporting refugees.

Samar Hersh-Toubia Policy and Project Officer

Samar first joined AVA in 2020 as a placement during her MSc in Health Psychology at UCL, but joinedt o a permanent position in 2021. She has a background in psychology, working both nationally and internationally as a care worker, teaching assistant, and as a member of a psychosocial team. Samar also works on independent contracts on a variety of issues, most recently issues of masculinity in the Middle East alongside an international organisation and individuals working in an institute tackling reproductive health and rights within the country.

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