Our Team

Dee Cresswell
Dee has been the General Manager for SVS - Living Safe since 2010 and has more than 30 years’ experience in the non-profit sector, both in New Zealand and overseas. She has lived and worked in Vietnam, Cambodia, Bougainville, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Laos, and Zimbabwe. She feels strongly about the organisation having solid financial management, sound human resources practices, and the best staff possible to deliver the organisation’s services. Dee is based in the Nelson office and works one day a week in the Motueka office.

Dee has a Bachelor of Business Studies, a Diploma in Business and Administration in Management, and a Diploma in Development Studies, all from Massey University. Dee lives in Motueka and loves spending time reading and being in the outdoors.

Lois Hewetson
Lois joined SVS - Living Safe in the Nelson office in 2018 as its Clinical Leader, bringing two decades of knowledge and experience to our service. She most recently spent five years as a Survivor Specialist with Project Restore, a national organisation providing restorative justice to those affected by sexual violence. She was also in private counselling during this time, providing predominately ACC counselling to children. Prior to this she lived in Christchurch where she spent ten years with Timataia te Mahi-oranga – START Healing STOP Abuse counselling sexual abuse survivors of all ages. She also spent five years working with Battered Women’s Refuge in Christchurch. Lois specialises in the field of violence and trauma because she believes people can change their behaviour, thoughts and feelings with the right support and information.

Lois has a Diploma in Applied Counselling and Psychotherapy Studies from the Nelson Polytechnic, now Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. She is ACC accredited and has spent the last five years training in psychodrama with the Centre for Experiential Development and Learning in Nelson. She experiences the method of psychodrama as assisting people (including herself) to gain insight into their lives and provides a systems thinking approach.  Lois grew up in the Rai Valley and enjoyed family holidays in the Nelson Sounds.  She has three adult daughters and 5 grandchildren.  She lives with her Cantabrian born husband in Nelson.

Aaron Agnew

Since 2017, Aaron has been a Clinician with SVS - Living Safe based in Nelson. He works predominantly with male and youth clients in the non-violence field. Previously, Aaron worked for the Department of Corrections as a Programme Facilitator specialising in the Mauri Toa Rangitahi programme, a specialist rehabilitation programme for ages 18-21 within the Corrections system. His background is in adventure therapy and he pursues ongoing study in this area. What keeps Aaron engaged is seeing the change and growth that occurs for individuals and families when given the support and how this helps them have healthier, happier communities now and into the future.

Aaron has a Master of Education in Counselling from Canterbury University and a Bachelor of Leisure and Sport from Waikato University. He enjoys the outdoors with his family for the adventure and balance they bring to life. He particularly likes mountain biking, running, getting out into the mountains and when possible, surfing.

Mark Banks
One of our Nelson-based Clinicians, Mark has a background of working with groups in the adventure tourism industry. He mostly works with non-violence programmes and with youth and specialises in anxiety, stress, and self-belief. He brings 15 years of group experience and nine years of counselling experience in the field of family violence to our practice. Previously, Mark worked as a crisis phone counsellor for Lifeline and as a mentor for the Timaru Grey Road youth drop in centre. Knowing people and families will have a better, happier future is what keeps Mark in this line of work.

Mark has a Bachelor of Applied Social Science with a major in counselling
from Waikato Institute of Technology. He lives in the Nelson region with his daughter.

Lara Buswell

Lara started working as a Clinician for SVS - Living Safe in December 2015, the day after she graduated from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology; her final placement for her degree was with SVS - Living Safe. She works one-on-one with women, men, and children and she co-facilitates an educative group programme for women. Lara was born in Nelson, grew up in Dunedin, and returned to live in Nelson in 2013. She is passionate about teaching people what healthy relationships look like, compared to abusive ones, and that change is possible.

Lara holds a Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences (Social Work) in 2015 and a Certificate in Introduction to Social Work and Counselling in 2010 from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

Kimberley Davidson
Kimberley is one of SVS - Living Safe’s Motueka-based Clinicians and she joined the organisation in 2019. Recently she spent two years working with women suffering from postnatal depression and trauma. She has also worked with youth, spending one year as a high school counsellor and four years working with special needs youth. Kimberley says it’s rewarding to be part of the process of working alongside people of all ages as they navigate their way through challenges.

Kimberley has a Bachelor of Counselling at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

Benita Lawrence
Benita joined SVS - Living Safe’s Motueka office in 2016 as a Clinician. She works with men, women, youth and children impacted by family violence. In the past she worked with youth, people experiencing mental illness, and people with disabilities to assess their workplace needs and to understand how workplaces and community participation facilitates mental and emotional wellbeing. Benita is passionate about being part of positive change in people’s loves. She feels that assisting in the healing of even one family, can impact positively on the whole (extended) family.

Benita holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching from Christchurch College of Education and Learning and a Level 7 Visual Arts Diploma.

Victor MacGill, PhD
Victor joined SVS - Living Safe in 2014, working in both its Nelson office and in Kaikōura on the non-violence programme. He was a programme facilitator and probation officer for the Department of Corrections for nine years prior. Earning a PhD in systems theory, he has used his study to develop a systems-based understanding of the nature of violence and this helps inform his work. Victor has four relevant peer reviewed publications. He is the author of two books, Gonna lay down my sword and shield and When the Dragon Stirs and the co-author of two additional books. He is currently working on a follow up book. Victor is intensely curious about the nature of human behaviour and continued use of violence to resolve differences and strategies to develop alternatives. Victor lives an idyllic lifestyle in a motorhome cruising the amazing land we live in with his partner Monika. He has an adult daughter living in Melbourne.

Victor holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Māori Studies from Canterbury University, a Master of Arts in Chaos, Complexity and Creativity from the University of Western Sydney, and a Doctorate in Systems Theory from the University of the Sunshine Coast. He also holds a Diploma in Social and Community Work from Otago University.

Seth Turner
Seth joined SVS - Living Safe in the Motueka office in 2017 as a Clinician. He is a trained psychotherapist and has been practicing for 15 years. He works with men, women, youth and children and is experienced in couple, group and mediation work. He specialises in the impacts of trauma and is interested in attachment and long-term emotional regulation/integration. Seth has worked with marginalised and traumatised individuals, specifically with Aboriginal communities, and with long term unemployed people in Brisbane. Seth feels nourished and privileged to be doing this work.

Seth holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from the University of Massey and is currently undergoing a Master thesis in psychology, also at Massey, that focuses on effective interventions with youth. He is a member of the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand and the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists/National Collective of Māori Psychotherapy Practitioners.

Michiel van Boekhout
Since 2013, Michiel has been a Clinician with SVS - Living Safe based in Motueka facilitating groups and counselling individuals, predominantly adult men. He is the Safe Families Motueka Champions Co-ordinator a project that champions individuals/family in the community to speak out against family violence. With over 14 years of experience working in the family violence field, including facilitating men in relationships and ante natal groups, Michiel remains passionate about this mahi by approaching clients with respect and non-judgement. He has a strong belief in people’s potential for change to live more in line with their values and the long-term effects in families where that change is carried out.

Michiel holds a Diploma in Counselling from Bible College of New Zealand (now Laidlaw College). He and his wife emigrated from the Netherlands to New Zealand in 1978, first living in Auckland and moving to Motueka in 2013 where four of their mokopuna live. They indulge in walking, cycling, and swimming.

Joelene Whitfield
Joelene is one of SVS - Living Safe’s Nelson-based Clinicians. She has worked at SVS - Living Safe since 2007 facilitating non-violence and safety programmes. Her specialised focus is working with youth.

She began her journey in this area of work as a student volunteering with Te Waiariki Women’s Refuge in Rotorua as an advocate for women and children. She worked there for three further years training and supporting volunteers. After, she facilitated group programs for youth as a trained high ropes instructor at Tui Ridge adventure Park and later as a women’s facilitator at Whenua Iti outdoor pursuits centre in Nelson. Prior to starting her role at SVS- Living Safe Joelene managed the Nelson/ Marlborough Branch of CanTeen, supporting teenagers living with cancer. She is passionate about supporting and empowering positive change within families in the community that she loves.


Joelene has a Bachelor of Applied Social Science with a major in Adventure Therapy and a Certificate in Adult Teaching. She’s a mum to four children.

Angela has worked with SVS - Living Safe since 2010 as its Service Coordinator. She provides administrative and clinical administrative support to the organisation and Clinicians. Over the years, Angela’s role has grown in line with the growth of the organisation. She attends the daily Family Harm meetings with other like social services and Police and is accredited to deliver the Strengthening Safety Service intervention for Ministry of Justice clients. Angela loves her work environment, her colleagues and making a difference in people’s lives.

Delwyn started working with SVS - Living Safe in early 2020 in an administrative support role.

SVS-Living Safe delivers services into Marlborough, Nelson, Motueka, Golden Bay and the West Coast.
Please contact our Nelson office for information.

Nelson Office

Level 3, 295 Trafalgar Street

Phone: 03 548 3850

Txt: 027 548 3850


Motueka Office

Jack Inglis Hospital

15b Courtney Street

Phone: 03 528 8976