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 provide spaces of belonging and safety for women who are reliant on street based sex work and young women and girls experiencing sexual exploitation 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 women and girls identify as important. Many of those we work with are tackling issues such as drug addiction, homelessness, mental health issues, poverty, domestic violence and family breakdown.
St Kilda Gatehouse does not seek to provide a perspective on the sex industry, rather we exist to provide places of belonging and support to women and girls who choose to access it. St Kilda Gatehouse does not adopt a ‘rescuing’ model as there is no evidence such a model is effective. St Kilda Gatehouse sees ‘rescuing’ as further disempowerment for women and girls and therefore counterproductive.
The programs and opportunities developed through through St Kilda Gatehouse 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 and girls who access our programs. Participation is voluntary and a high degree of flexibility is always factored in.