Karen Bentley is the National Director for the Safety Net Australia Project which she helped establish for WESNET in Australia in 2011. The SafetyNet Australia program examines the intersection between domestic violence and technology. She works closely with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) that established the program in the USA. Karen became the first NNEDV accredited trainer in Australia in 2011. Karen delivers technology safety training to Australian agencies and organisations that work with women experiencing or escaping gender-based violence and stalking.
A tech enthusiast and strong women’s advocate, Karen combines both passions to lead and manage WESNET’s work on technology safety. She regularly provides advice to government departments, technology companies, as well as developing and delivering training to frontline workers on how technology is misused and how to assist women to be safer online and collect evidence.
She currently manages the WESNET components of the WESNET-Telstra SafeConnections program, which provides smartphones to women impacted by domestic and family violence. Karen also manages the Safe Technology for Women project that provides advanced training to frontline agencies, and she is working with the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner to help design and deliver the eSafety for Women training program.
Karen has been working with the Violence Against Women sector since 1998 in various positions and roles at the federal government, national, state and grassroots agency levels. She held a number of senior executive positions in the Australian Public Service including in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, where she managed the Partnership Against Domestic Violence project. She has also held board positions in Domestic/Family Violence or Sexual Assault Services. She managed her own management consultancy business for ten years providing assistance and support to the non-government sector, and more recently held an Executive Director Position in Bendigo Community Health Services. Between 2008-2012 she also worked part time in a high security women’s refuge in Central Victoria in a quality assurance role.