GateHouse

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Who we are

St Kilda Gatehouse is a not for profit Christian organisation which works alongside those involved in street based sex work or affected by commercial sexual exploitation as a result of hardship. Through providing a place of belonging and engagement Gatehouse helps individuals address issues such as family violence, drug addiction, homelessness, poverty, mental health and social isolation. It is a place where individuals feel valued and important. For many who come from challenging backgrounds it is a source of dignity and hope.

 

Our Team

Our Approach

Why we do what we do

Mission/purpose

Vision

 

Our Team

Board

  • Mark Watt - Chair
  • Ruth Baker - Vice Chair
  • Felicity Langton - Secretary
  • James Burnet - Treasurer
  • Dianne Azoor Hughes - Board Member
  • Pauline Richards - Board Member

 

Staff

  • Penelope - Chief Executive Officer
  • Janice - Executive Manager, Young Womens Centre
  • Helen - Finance Officer
  • Fiona - Support Worker, St Kilda Drop In
  • Lucy - Support Worker, St Kilda Drop In
  • Jim - Senior Support Worker, St Kilda Drop In
  • Andie - Community Development & Social Enterprise Worker
  • Amanda - YWC Therapeutic Support Worker
  • Jessica - YWC CSE Practice Educator
  • Kim - YWC Group Work and Volunteer Coordinator
  • Jordan - YWC Outreach Worker
  • Deb - YWC Outreach Worker
  • Edith - Parental Support Worker

 

Our Approach

St Kilda 

St Kilda Gatehouse operates within a community development model. Our approach is relational and we are guided by the identified needs of those who we are working with. We primarily provide a space of belonging and safety for the women who are involved in street based sex work as a result of hardship. Though we provide some harm minimisation support around street sex work and drug use, such as condoms, syringes, methadone program and self defence training - our support tends to be around the issues that the women identify as important. Many of the women we work with are tackling issues such as drug addiction, homelessness, loss of custody of children, mental health issues, poverty, domestic violence, etc. These tend to be the issues that are of primary concern for the women. 

St Kilda Gatehouse does not seek to provide a perspective on the sex industry, rather we exist to provide a place of belonging and support to women who choose to access it. St Kilda Gatehouse does not adopt a ‘rescuing’ model as there is no evidence such a model is effective. Gatehouse sees ‘rescuing’ as further disempowerment for the women and therefore counterproductive.

The programs and opportunities developed through the Drop-In Centre are developed through a participatory approach and they run for as long as there is positive engagement and interest. A program is usually developed around the ideas and interests of the women who access Gatehouse. Participation is voluntary and a high degree of flexibility is always factored in.


a place of belonging

The community space in Greeves Street is the primary point of contact for many who work on the streets. It provides a safe, homely environment. Assisting individuals starts with genuine engagement, building trust, providing crisis care and the opportunity to form positive and meaningful relationships.

  • crisis care and emergency aid
  • food, clothing, toiletries
  • homely environment
  • someone to talk to

providing the opportunity to participate in community life

St Kilda Gatehouse provides the opportunity to participate in community, family and social life. Special occasions are celebrated and events shared. Steps are taken to reconnect individuals with their children, other family members and the wider community.

  • recreational and community activities
  • celebrations and events
  • community meals
  • child access visits
  • parental resources

helping individuals navigate pathways off the streets

Those attempting to leave street sex work are often trapped by homelessness and drug addiction. Staff assist individuals to navigate the services and systems essential to breaking out of these traps

  • setting up appointments
  • advocacy
  • transport
  • networking with other agencies
  • introductions to key service providers
  • counselling

holistically building on individual strengths and capacity 

Staff work alongside those who wish to pursue interests, skill development and unfulfilled dreams. Encouragement, coaching and practical support is provided and networks mobilised to provide in-kind support.

  • training
  • small business
  • develop and practice new skills
  • job preparedness
  • support groups


Dandenong

Gatehouse has recently engaged in the Young Women’s Project where we support young women and girls aged 12 to 25 years who are involved in or at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. This project was developed in response to the stories and experiences shared by the women in St Kilda and also the evidence-based understanding that experience of childhood trauma and abuse, family breakdown, poverty and a lack of traditional supports increases the likelihood of involvement in commercial sexual exploitation. We aim to support young women to create social and community connectedness, working toward prevention, early intervention and lasting change. 

An empowerment approach underpins the Young Women’s Project with a strong emphasis on young women's ownership through their voices and input being central to project development. The aim is to create a place of belonging for young women in whom strengths are highlighted over weaknesses; young women are seen as powerful agents of change in their lives and communities. This is achieved through a participatory approach, encouraging not only the genuine participation of young women but also that of the broader community through co design and common working practices, strong partnerships as part of a community development model. 

With feminist underpinnings, the Young Women’s Project approaches practice through a lens of systemic societal analysis, appreciating the broader social content in which each young woman exists, and how the paradigms of patriarchy and gender inequality impact her lived experience.

a place of belonging

A key goal of the young women’s program is to create an intentional space where the young women of Dandenong can connect, relate and create community; i.e. a place of belonging where they feel safe and comfortable within their neighborhood and community. As identified above, there is a lack of female specific programs for young women to spend time with their peers in a safe and supported context. Through the development of a place based open-door Centre, Gatehouse aims to reduce the risks facing young women who currently spend time in unsafe, unsupported environments. 

providing the opportunity to participate in community life 

The Centre in Dandenong aims to provide a key point of connection for vulnerable young women in the community, creating a safe trustworthy space for them to build connections with available services and community support systems. The Centre will provide intentional programs that build community amongst the young women in Dandenong, creating a positive, healthy culture and environment for young women to create, be part of and belong to. The Project will offer a Mentoring program where young women will be intentionally and sensitively paired with members of their community who can provide support, friendship and a sense of connection. The program will offer recreational activities and community meals. 

helping individuals navigate pathways off the streets

Those attempting to leave Commercial Sexual activity often face serious impediments such as homelessness and drug addiction. Through the Young Women’s Project, the Centre based support workers collaborate with other service providers. The Centre aims to connect young women to services that can assist them; to advocate for young women; provide practical assistance and intentionally working with the young women to build their own resilience and capacity to navigate their lives with confidence and a strong sense of self esteem. 

holistically building on individual strengths and capacity

The Gatehouse approach holds young women at the core; seeing them as the experts on their own lives, needs, strengths and abilities. The program is based on a conviction that each young woman has all the resources they need within themselves to identity and achieve their own goals. Gatehouse staff endeavor to provide the support needed to assist young women to re-connect to their own capacity and strength, identify their own goals and needs and to connect to the resources, community and relationships needed to achieve them.



Why we do what we do

St Kilda Gatehouse is based on the Christian principles of inclusiveness, unconditional support, service, individual worth and social justice. St Kilda Gatehouse believes every person is worthy of a “home” environment and a “way in” to resources and participation in family, community and social life.

Mission/Purpose

Take a relational approach to deliver practical assistance and a place of belonging, to enable positive pathways for women who are at risk of sexual exploitation or affected by street-based sex work and their support networks.

Vision

Provide a safe haven and grassroots services to women at risk of sexual exploitation or affected by street-based sex work, in order to build hope and courage for a better life.

 

St Kilda Gatehouse was established and incorporated in 1992. It is endorsed as an Income Tax Exempt Charitable Entity and a Deductible Gift Recipient. Our Drop-In Centre and head office are located in St Kilda. We are setting up a Centre for young women and girls in Dandenong.

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