Our Team


Willow Duffy – CEO

Willow is a founding member of Safeguarding Children and has worked as a nurse and midwife for over 30 years. She has a postgraduate qualification as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse Practitioner (Health Visitor) from the UK. Willow managed a caseload with child protection concerns on a daily basis and at a time of great change in the child protection system. She also trained as a child protection supervisor for nurses.

Willow has worked as a Plunket Nurse, and later with youth as a Sexual Health and Family Planning Nurse and as part of a specialist team as a Forensic Nurse for sexual assaults (SAATS/MEDSAC Nurse). Willow has worked as an advisor for Children’s Action Plan and Oranga Tamariki and in 2017 was a finalist in New Zealand Women of Influence Awards.

Willow believes that communities hold the key to keeping children and young people safe, and that we all have a vital role to play. Her drive is to protect our most vulnerable citizens and bring their unique needs to the forefront of all we do.


Louise Petzold – Senior Safeguarding Consultant

Louise has worked with passion in the field of Family Violence and Child Protection for almost 20 years.

Louise has been involved with Stopping Violence Services and has been a Ministry of Justice group facilitator and youth worker. During this time, Louise has deepened her interest in community and organisational responses to child protection and family violence. She has co-developed a family violence case management model.

Louise spent a year working with national child protection training organisation Child Matters which included training Children’s Teams. Louise’s skills in training, collaboration as well as direct front line experience in family violence work, are crucial in helping to develop our Safeguarding Capacity Development service.

Louise believes that we all have a part to play in the welfare of vulnerable children by training ourselves to know how to respond to vulnerability, abuse and neglect, working well together and engaging well with vulnerable whānau.


Ruth Browning –  Safeguarding Consultant

Ruth is a qualified Social Worker and member of the Social Workers Registration Board with a current practicing certificate. She has been a social worker for 20 years and has a wide range of experience working with children, youth and their families in both non-government and government organisations. This experience includes as a Social Worker and Family Group Conference Co-ordinator for Oranga Tamariki for several years.

Ruth understands child protection from both within Oranga Tamariki as well as within the community. She has a drive and passion for creating healthier and safer communities where children and young people can thrive.

Ruth has a Masters in Social Research and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social and Community Work. Ruth is Social Work Supervisor and lectures on a Social Work degree course.


Kirsten Taylor – Operations Manager

Kirsten Taylor

Kirsten has a wide range of skills in office management and looks after our clients, eLearning development and all things operationally for Safeguarding Children.  She has managed call centres overseas, has been a travel agent as well as runs her own business with her husband.

At Safeguarding Children, Kirsten organises everything that is required for our organisation to run efficiently.  She is passionate about Child Protection and is committed to ensuring that Safeguarding Children delivers the highest level of service possible.


Renée Strickland – Administrator

Renée is responsible for the day to day running of the Safeguarding Children office.  She is proficient in implementing processes and systems for the smooth running of our organisation.

Safety is a theme which has featured throughout Renée’s working career, having worked in the food, aviation and commerical property industries.  Renée is looking forward to applying this work experience to help keep our children safe.



Deborah McConochie – Sales and Funding

Deborah has a background in business management, sales and marketing.

She has held senior positions in marketing and sales and owned and operated a business with her husband for 26 years.

At Safeguarding Children, Deborah is committed to ensuring that all our services are promoted and accessed nationally.



John Parsons – Internet Safety Consultant and Presenter

John has worked with us as a specialist presenter and advisor for a number of years. He is a national Internet Safety and Risk Assessment Consultant to schools, the private and health sectors, providing specialist advice and direction on the safe use of Digital Communication Technology.

John delivers cyber safety workshops to those who work with young people and parents/caregivers. He also works with individuals, young people and families who have become ensnared by predatory adults across digital networks, those who have been cyber abused and children and youth who abuse others online.


Leanne Couch – Sport and Recreation Child Protection Consultant and Presenter

Leanne CouchLeanne is a specialist in child protection in sport and has worked with a variety of sporting organisations. She has experience working in the junior sport system in Australia, England, USA and New Zealand.

Leanne worked with Sport England for 3 years, working closely with the Safeguarding Team, developing ways to enrich young people’s lives through sport.  Her experience of working with those children most at risk of slipping through the cracks has been a driving force of her work in New Zealand where she has continued to consolidate and grow her knowledge.


Esther Cowell – Child Psychologist and Presenter

Esther Cowell is an experienced Child and Family Psychologist with 15 years experience working with children and families. Esther has a masters in psychology and a postgraduate diploma in child and family psychology. She is currently working at Maitai School in Nelson.She works on an individual basis with young people and families, and on sexual education and overseeing behaviour management policy.

Esther has extensive experience working with a variety of childhood difficulties. Esther values building relationships with those that I work with to ensure that the person feels safe and supported.


Together we can make a difference.