Family Action – Whanau toa | Counselling – Support – Refuge

09 836 1987

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23 June 2016

Amalgamation Ensures Valuable Family Support

Change Works and Family Action are pleased to announce that as of the 1 July 2016, they will have completed an amalgamation, which will see Change Works moving premises to join with the Family Action team at 13 Edsel Street Henderson.

The Change Works youth programmes will join the suite of services offered by Family Action, to families in West Auckland and is a welcome extension of support for young people.

Steve Deakin will remain the clinical lead of the Change Works programmes and principle co-ordinator.

Referrals to the programmes can be made via the website, email to or by phone 09 836 1987

For more information contact:

Michelle Clayton, CEO

Family Action

836 1987


About Us

Family Action is a Registered Charity

Family Action was formed following a 2 year collaboration project between Waitakere Abuse and Trauma Counselling Service (WATCS), Western Refuge (WRS) and ManAlive. At the beginning of 2012 it was decided that WATCS and WRS should merge.

WATCS was formed in 1989 following a community initiative to produce a resource for children who had been sexually abused in West Auckland. Over time services expanded to include women, children and families who had experienced domestic violence, abuse and trauma. Recent developments include a contract for sexual violence from MSD and a sensitive claims contract with ACC.

WRS began 30 years ago and provided refuge housing, outreach and advocacy was added approximately 15 years ago and represented the larger portion of the WRS services. WRS has provided a court advocacy service for victims of family violence inside the family violence court for the last 10 years and is the only external NGO victim service inside a court in New Zealand.

Our Team

Our clinical team of staff are made up of qualified and experienced social workers, psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists and art therapists. They are skilled in working to help adults, youth, children and families who have experienced domestic or sexual violence.  They are assisted by our administration team who will help clients to access the right services.

Our work is supported by the Ministry of Social Development, and the Ministry of Justice.  We are a registered supplier for ACC Sensitive Claims.


Michelle Clayton

Michelle has 25 years’ experience in the health and social service sector as a practitioner and in management.

She is passionate about making sure that clients get the very best service and are able to make the most of opportunities that become available to gain healthy rewarding and safe lives.

Family Action encourages women and children to achieve their potential and Michelle is proud to be a part of that work.


Board Members

Linda photoLinda Cooper JP
Coming from a background as a Registered Nurse, Linda has twenty years governance experience in commercial, local body and non-governmental community organisations including health, education, social services and funding bodies. She was a Waitakere City Councillor between 2004-2010, and is currently an Auckland City Councillor and Chair of the Waitakere Licensing Trust. She is also involved with the Territorial Forces Employment Support Council (Ministry of Defence) and the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commission.
John Ballard
John’s special interests include advising on taxation planning and minimisation, sale and purchase of businesses, financing and business loan applicants and business structure. Industry sectors that have benefited from John’s expertise include motor vehicle dealers, automotive dismantlers, construction and related building trades, health care and pre-school/tertiary education providers.
Rachel Morriss- Jarvis
Rachel Morriss-Jarvis has an extensive commercial background and is currently a consultant providing marketing, sponsorship, communications and public relations expertise.
Rachel has held a number of senior marketing roles within both corporate and charitable sectors.
Formerly the Marketing & Development Director for Auckland’s largest multi arts event, she also spent several years in a number of marketing roles within New Zealand Post Group as well as the technology and retail industries. She has a Bachelor of Commerce from Canterbury University.
Martin Putt
Martin Putt is a psychodramatist and psychotherapist who specialises in working with boys and men both in private practice and as a team leader in a community therapy agency. His primary clinical interest is in working to create safer families and communities through conducting individual, family and group therapy with young men presenting with harmful sexual behaviours. Martin is married with children.
Verle Cahill Verle Pic
Verle has over thirty years of progressive experience in human resources; management, financial responsibilities and service development in the social service sector both as a volunteer and paid employee.  She was a founding member of the first Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Waitakere, helped establish Henderson House as a Community Mental Health Centre and in 1983 with other women formed the West Auckland Women’s Centre.  In the late seventies Verle joined with a number of like minded people to help establish the Western Refuge Society and in 1980 the first safe-house for women and their children was opened in Montel Ave, Henderson.  She was invited to join the Western Refuge Society Committee in 2007 and was made a Life Member at the 2007 AGM.
Sarmila Gray


Family Action provides counselling for those affected by family and sexual violence, abuse, or trauma. You and your family’s needs are our primary concern.We have an open referrals system. You are welcome to call our client liaison staff, who can discuss your needs with you.We offer :

  • Counselling
  • Expressive therapies
  • Family work
  • Crisis Support
  • Psychology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Child Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Groups
  • ACC sensitive claims counselling (in the West Auckland, North Shore, Central Auckland and Waiheke areas)

We offer groups for women who wish to move away from the cycle of violence, “Women in Action – Wahine Toa” , for youth and children who have experience or witnessed abuse, “Youth in Action – Rangitahi Toa” and “Children in Action – Tamariki Toa”.

We offer a safe, confidential and empowering service. Our profession al team are all qualified counsellors, psychotherapists, art therapists and psychologists. We are approved by ACC, Ministry of Justice and CYF. We are partly funded by the government and any additional costs are negotiable.

Outreach & Refuge

Family Action Outreach and Refuge supports all people in crisis who are experiencing family violence.Family Action provides a caring and confidential place where you can talk about issues in your relationship and the violence or abuse that you are experience or have experienced. No appointment needed.

Your needs and wishes will always be respected by us. The care and safety of you and your children is our priority.

We can provide:

  • A safe place where you can explore your options
  • Refuge (also for those outside of West Auckland)
  • Safety plans and options
  • Crisis counselling and intervention services
  • Information about protection and custody issues
  • Support with your Victim Impact Statement
  • Court Advocacy
  • Referral to relevant services
  • Ongoing support
  • Telephone support and advice

Contact / Referrals

We have moved:

Counselling & Outreach/Refuge

13 Edsel Street
09 836 1987



Phone: 09 836 1987

Referral Form April 2016(downloadable form)

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