We are a Free and Confidential Service

Melissa Davidson - General Manager 

 Melissa is the General Manager of MSASS.  Melissa comes to MSASS with over 20 years of experience in nursing and management and has worked across a variety of services, including tertiary health care services, not-for-profit/for-good services, and primary health care.  With a special interest in sexual health, healing after sexual harm, and working with adolescents and young people, Melissa is passionate about prevention education, professional excellence, and putting the client at the centre of our service.   Melissa is proud to support and empower the skilled and caring team of staff here at MSASS.  

melissa@msass.org.nz     022 490 9743

​Kelly Leatherland - Practice Lead

kelly@msass.org.nz     027 208 7930

Richelle Sexton - Administrator/Executive Assistant

Richelle started as our Administrator at the beginning of 2019 after having her second child. She feels very fortunate to work with an amazing team of professionals and to meet those who come through our service. As well as working at MSASS, Richelle is completing her Bachelor of Counselling. If you visit us, Richelle will be more than happy to make you a cuppa and have a chat!  Richelle enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her beautiful pets outside of work - a cat and her golden retriever.

richelle@msass.org.nz     021 211 1330

Suzi Gallagher - Crisis Response Social Worker BHSc, MAppSW, PHD Candidate

Suzi has been working in the realm of social work for over 10 years, starting her career in West Auckland working with rangatahi. She has also worked with older adults, offenders, children, and families typically within the realms of family harm. Suzi was born in Kirikiriroa, raised in Tamaki Makaurau, and has been back in the Waikato for nearly five years. She completed her Masters of Applied Social Work in 2019 and is now a fully registered Social Worker. Prior to this, she also completed a degree in psychology and applied mental health. Suzi is passionate about walking alongside people as they reclaim their lives after trauma.

She lives with her two children and enjoys crafts, baking and gardening in her spare time. One of her greatest achievements (aside from her tamariki) is nursing her beloved Nanma through the final stages of her life. She was, and remains to be, one of Suzi’s key motivations to share her aroha and awhi with others. 

suzi@msass.org.nz     027 204 2386

Natalie Johns - Crisis Response Social Worker, BSW

Natalie completed her Bachelor of Social Work at The Open Polytechnic and joined our team in September 2023. Natalie has lived in the Waikato for over 20 years, moving between different locations and settling in South Waikato with her three children. Prior to being at MSASS, Natalie worked at Te Whatu Ora in Women's Health. Natalie is passionate about supporting those who have experienced sexual violence and this has always been an area that she wanted to work in.

natalie@msass.org.nz    027 309 9557

Niki Green - Crisis Response Counsellor BAVI, PGCertED, MCouns

My name is Niki and I am a counsellor here at Midlands Sexual Assault Support Services (MSASS).

I am new to Hamilton and relocated from New Plymouth where I was born and raised.

Prior to working with MSASS, I started a non-profit online community created to share stories, support and advocate for people who were experiencing depression, anxiety and other mental illness. I am passionate about starting real conversations that bring understanding to and help reduce the stigma people with mental health issues experience.

I gained my Master’s degree in counselling in 2014 and trained in the area of sexual violence. I still feel honoured every time survivors of trauma allow me to be part of their journey towards healing.

When I am not working you can find me in my comfy trackpants binge watching crime documentaries or hanging out with family and friends. 

niki@msass.org.nz   027 275 4564

Gail Tharratt - Crisis Counsellor MA (Counselling Psychology)

I obtained my Masters in Counselling Psychology in 1993 in South Africa. Initially I worked in private practice which gave me flexibility when my children were young.  I have experience working with all age groups and have worked in several different settings including counsellor education and as a counsellor in a high school. I have experience working with anxiety, depression, the effects of trauma, and loss.  I have worked with international students at both tertiary and secondary level.   As a counsellor, I bring a compassionate heart and provide a safe space in which clients are empowered to discover their strengths and personal resources on their healing journey. 

I immigrated to New Zealand from South Africa 24 years ago with my husband and 2 sons. In my spare time I enjoy reading and expressing my creativity through crochet and knitting and trying my hand at different crafts.  An essential part of my well-being is being out in nature, whether it is doing a short bush walk or enjoying walking along the Waikato River.  

gail@msass.org.nz     027 235 8578

Jessica Loots - Crisis Counsellor BA (Hons)

As a counsellor I am completely committed to supporting you through whatever challenges you're facing. My passion for counselling comes from a deep-rooted desire to help others navigate life. It's not just a job for me; it's a calling. Every person I work with is unique, and I approach each session with empathy and understanding.

Jessica is originally from South Africa and joined the MSASS team in 2024.

jessica@msass.org.nz    027 255 6630

Waiata Rifle - On Call Crisis Response Social Worker BSW

Ko Tainui me Te Arawa oku iwi. No Kirikiriroa ahau.

Ko Waiata Rifle toku ingoa.

A great sense of joy is witnessing people discover their self-worth, develop their confidence, and live their lives so that they feel in control of themselves again.  This is a journey I may have only contributed 1% toward, but if it helps to empower one aspect of a person’s world, this translates into 100% satisfaction in being a social worker in Aotearoa.  My professional background includes social work, mental health, disability care, and probation. 

Newly married, I am a mother of four grown children and grandmother of nine precious moko – my contribution to any mahi I have engaged in has been grounded and motivated by the aroha I have for my whanau and community.


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