A National Collective for Survivors of Violence Against Women

About us


Who is behind The Backbone Collective?


I can’t change the system alone - I can’t even change it working with a small group of other committed women – we can only change the system if we join our voices together to make one very loud chorus.  By working together we can turn things around for our daughters and granddaughters.

I have spoken out for a long time about how the response system needs to listen to the voices of survivors of Violence Against Women if it wants to make a difference.  I am a survivor of domestic and sexual violence and I receive regular contact from other survivors who have trusted me with their stories and experience of the system - and in particular their struggles with the system.  I remain passionate about ensuring women's voices are heard.  Technology has arrived at a place that allows us to connect safely in a virtual way.  The time is right for The Backbone Collective.

I have an equally passionate group of women who will be helping to design, build and put the collective into operation.  We have no funding for this endeavour and we are volunteering our time and skills to build The Backbone Collective.  We will share more information about The Backbone Collective once we have a better idea of what survivors want.  I look forward to sharing more information with you in early 2017.

In the coming months we will be encouraging New Zealanders who want to help us to improve the Violence Against women system to join The Backbone Collective and contribute their skills or resources to assist in the Collective's work.  

Contact Ruth: ruth@backbone.org.nz


I am passionate about improving the experience of survivors of Violence Against Women in New Zealand.  I have been trying to help women's voices be heard by the system for a long time. I'm so excited to be part of creating a way for our voices to finally be heard. 

I have worked directly with women survivors in various roles at the Courts and in NGO's.  For the last 12 years, I've undertaken more behind-the-scenes roles at NGO agencies, in Government, and as an independent contractor - trying to improve the response to women survivors. I believe that women's voices should be at the center of the design and development of an integrated system that responds appropriately and safely to them.

Contact Deborah: deb@backbone.org.nz


I am a researcher and policy analyst with a background in feminist and women-centred research.  In 2014, I founded a research and evaluation consultancy that works with a range of organisations to develop evidence-based solutions to improve what they do, and demonstrate the value of what they do.

I am committed to and focussed on being part of a new approach to addressing Violence Against Women in New Zealand, and I bring my expertise in research design, online data collection methods and analysis to The Backbone Collective. 

Contact Tania: tania@backbone.org.nz