Identification dilemmas

We constantly get feedback at St Kilda Gatehouse that we represent family, community and friendship – and we are conscious of modelling values such as un-conditional support, trustworthiness and healthy boundaries. We really are there for each woman’s individual needs. Sure, some of the issues arising are similar, affecting many of the women. Issues such as housing, legal, mental health, harm minimisation and drug addiction.

We are currently the only service specific to those involved in street sex work in Greeves Street where the women work. We provide material aid such as clothing, meals, food parcels and hygiene products. We offer harm minimisation support, referrals, access to the internet, couches where women can safely rest and sleep. In addition to this we provide people with clean syringes, swabs and condoms through our NSP (needle and syringe program). We give out swags for those experiencing homelessness and are a point of contact for agencies to access their clients.

An issue that keeps coming up for the women that we support is their lost or stolen identification.

Can you imagine, just a moment, you have nothing to prove who you are. No driver’s license, no medicare card, no passport, no birth certificate, no proof of age card. Nothing!  Imagine trying to find housing, receive a pension, apply for a job, or acquire a mobile phone to keep in touch with children, friends or family without identification.

This last year we have worked intensively with various women to secure their identification. Because we have established relationships with the women we can genuinely vouch for their identity with the police, and the registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages enabling us to get photo identification with a Proof of Age card. St Kilda Gatehouse supports and finances this process.

And women are getting their lives back.

They can now sign up for mobile phones, Centrelink pensions, open a bank account, get a library card or stay at a local hostel. Having identification opens up their world and connects them to family and community.

*Krissy said, “Thank you SO much for doing this – no other worker has spent so much time helping me before.”

Krissy was able to get a mobile phone with her identification. She went without a phone for 6 months. This enabled her to communicate with her family, case manager, housing worker, health professionals and employment agency.

What a privilege to be part of the process of empowerment for women!

Please give generously this Christmas.

St Kilda Gatehouse works alongside vulnerable girls and women experiencing marginalisation in Melbourne.

Your donation ensures young women, girls and women are receiving basic needs (swags, meals, identification, a warm shower, clothes); referrals to professional support for complex issues (homelessness, mental health, family & sexual violence; alcohol & other drugs) and a safe community through our support workers and programs.