A world free from sexual violence.
We help individuals, whānau and communities affected by sexual abuse move from surviving to thriving.
We do this through:
our 24/7 support line
counselling and other therapies
cooperation and collaboration with other service providers, both government and non government, and the wider community.
Our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi
Wellington HELP recognises Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand. We are committed to developing a culturally appropriate way of working with Māori agencies, staff and clients. We are committed to ongoing learning in this area.
Who are we?
Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP works with survivors of sexual abuse and their whānau – of any age, gender, sexuality or ethnicity. We provide a 24 hour support line, social work and counselling services for anyone who has experienced rape or sexual abuse, or who is concerned about a friend or family member.
We have been working with survivors of sexual abuse in the Wellington region since 1985, and in Porirua since 2005. We also cover the Kāpiti coast.
HELP is a charitable trust which relies on government and philanthropic grants for its operation, as well as donations from the public.
HELP Board Members
Kaye Vaka’uta: Co-Chair
Kaye is new to the HELP Board and hopes to contribute extra energy and spirit. She brings a tangata whenua perspective and a strong desire to contribute to the continued success and sustainability of the staff and the organisation. She is well connected in Māori and organisational development communities, and driven by a passion to help people and groups understand and reach their full potential.
With over twenty years’ experience in management, human resources, facilitation and training in both private and public sector organisations, Kaye now consults across a variety of public and private sector organisations, designing and implementing strategies to enhance organisational effectiveness.
Kaye has the values and mission of HELP in her clear line of sight in everything she discusses, thinks about and makes decisions on with the Board.
A child of the far north, her tribal affiliations are to Te Tai Tokerau iwi – Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu and Te Aupouri. She is connected to Pasifika peoples through her husband and his family who are Tongan. Kaye loves music, singing, walking in the bush, reading, cooking, eating, drinking wine and spending time with her family.
Bennett Quinn: Co-Chair
Ben has been a Police Officer for the last 21 years, where he has concentrated his career on making a difference with a focus on the investigation of serious crime. This includes the investigation of sexual assault across the Wellington District, and Ben has partnered and supported various sexual abuse support agencies over this time and developed relationships and respect for the work done in this field.
After careful consideration of adult sexual assault in the Wellington CBD, Ben launched the “Don’t Guess the Yes” campaign in 2017. The awareness campaign, led by Police, works with the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network (SAPN), Victoria University and Massey University Students Associations (VUWSA and MUSA), Wellington City Council and Hospitality Association of NZ (HANZ) to change attitudes and behaviours around alcohol consumption and sexual consent. They target young people living and socialising in the Wellington CBD with their messaging around making better decisions.
Ben is driven by values of empathy, respect and professionalism particularly in the areas of preventing harm with a goal of ensuring members of our community are safe and feel safe. This is particularly important to HELP when leading the conversation around an end to sexual violence.
Other areas of Police work for Ben, include drugs and organised crime, burglary and vehicle crime, serious violence, fraud, CIB Crime Squad, community engagement and uniformed work.
Apart from several years living in Scotland, Wellington is Ben’s home, where he lives with his wife and two teenage children. His other passions include family, friends, food, music and sport.
Margaret Robinson: Board Member
Margaret is the longest serving member on the HELP Board and a project professional with a strong history of working in the social and justice sectors. She has an innate ability to build key relationships, influence stakeholders and facilitate others to bring about pragmatic solutions to complex implementation problems, something of major benefit to HELP and their work.
When working in London during the 80s and 90s, Margaret worked for ChildLine in London - a telephone counselling service for young people. She trained as a counsellor when she was in the UK and worked for ChildLine for 10 years and heard more accounts of sexual abuse than she thought was possible. Hence her passion for HELP.
Currently working in the criminal justice sector, being on the Board grounds her in the victim/survivor experience. Through her approachable style, Margaret brings a combination of passion for a world free from sexual violence combined with project management discipline to HELP.
Heather Baggott: Board Member
Heather has been a public servant for over 20 years working primarily in the area of social justice. Being on the Board with HELP really speaks to her strengths and she offer enormous value through her experiences in this sector.
Heather is currently Assistant Commissioner at the State Services Commission where she supports the Commissioner and a portfolio of Chief Executives with system and agency performance. She also leads the Crown/Māori elements of the State Sector Act reform underway. Prior to this, Heather was Group Manager Delivery at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage leading multi-agency programmes, regulating the protection of national symbols and cultural objects, and providing services that share stories of significance to our nation’s heritage and identity. She has also served with the Ministry of Justice, Specialist Courts and Tribunals (which includes Coroners, Māori Land, Environment and Employment Courts), Office of Treaty Settlements and been part of a senior officials group advising Cabinet committees on Treaty issues as well as working in Ministers’ offices.
Heather is motivated by a service ethic and creating positive legacies for future generations. She loves challenges and supporting people to grow.
Heather is married to Richard Gordon, a partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts law firm. They have two sons, Ben and Matthew, two cats and a Labrador, Des. An outdoors and sport-mad family, they love to travel and hang out in the King Country, Taranaki and Canterbury with whānau. Her tribal affiliations are to Ngati Maniapoto and Te Atiawa.
Penny Cooper: Board Member
Penny’s early career was in law and accounting, where she worked as a tax consultant in a professional services firm. From there she branched out into programme management before taking time out as a full-time mother. Penny now has a portfolio career where most of her energy is invested in leading change initiatives for mainly public sector clients.
Penny chose to support HELP with governance, because she believes the organisation offers something that matters for our community. She feels fortunate to be able to play a small part in HELP, and be connected to an organisation with such passionate and committed people. Being involved as a Board member is a privilege for her, and she is motivated to build on the work of many others to see HELP continue to strengthen as an organisation.
As a Board member, Penny brings her understanding of service design, governance and risk. In a world that often lacks social cohesion, her focus is on asking questions and initiating conversations that grow connection and awareness.
Penny’s family have been settled in Central Otago and Southland for four generations, and she enjoyed growing up in the regions before moving to Wellington as a graduate. She has a keen interest in her local community, current events, reading and enjoying our beautiful outdoor environment with family and friends. Her roles as a mother, wife, daughter and sister drive her to create environments that welcome our full humanity and where people can be free to express themselves fully.
Jen Coleman-Walker: Treasurer
Jen is our newest board member. She describes herself as an action oriented person who is outcomes focused and likes to make things happen!
Jen is a committed and experienced public servant who is passionate about wanting to make a difference and brings a high level of energy and enthusiasm. A 'bean counter' by trade, Jen is driven by wanting to make a difference, helping others and connecting with people.
Her natural style is to work collaboratively with others with purpose and flare. She brings a high level of energy and enthusiasm and has a passion for driving change and a real desire to deliver results for an organisation.
Jen started in accounting, where she worked as a business advisor and client services manager in both small and large professional services firms. She later saw the light and moved into the public sector as a finance advisor and business partner. Almost 15 years later, she has had a range of roles from Principal Advisor – Strategy and Performance, Chief Financial Officer to Director, Corporate Services. She remains a committed not-for-profit worker and public servant. She currently spends her time as a programme manager for Age Concern NZ and Private Secretary and for the Serious Fraud Office.
We are lucky to now have Jen as our Treasurer:
"I have the ability to translate financial information so I can ‘talk numbers’ with non-financial people. I like to look beyond the numbers to help people understand how an organisation is performing.
"I am hugely honoured to have been asked to be part of such a passionate team doing amazing work. I wish we didn’t live in a society that needs HELP and other organisations like it but we do. So I am motivated to do all I can to support HELP keep providing the crucial services it does."
Jen is a wife and mother and lives in Crofton Downs with her lovely husband, fabulous teenage daughter and cat Mr Ruby. She loves gardening, yoga and meditation.
Conor Twyford: Chief Executive
Conor has been CE since 2016 and has a passion for serving people and the community. She is interested in making workplaces the best and most sustainable places they can be, and is passionate about ending rape culture. She loves working with HELP’s amazing staff and contractors, and acknowledges the profound difference the organisation makes in people's lives.
As CE, she brings enthusiasm, vision empathy and tenaciousness as well as some great connections and networks. Conor is always looking for better ways to do things, new connections to make and ways to engage the community as agents for social change in this compelling and challenging space.
She describes her experience as very eclectic and has worked all her life in community sector organisations. Conor has a flair for campaigns and a passion for movement building.
Conor believes that HELP’s vision, mission and values are central to everything the organisation does and knows that staff and contractors are absolutely committed to their work. She feels grateful to be able to be part of that mahi and to learn from them.
When she isn’t at work she enjoys time with her lovely children, working in the garden, or spending time in her community.