Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

Closing date for this current Grant Round is 31.08.2017 View Grant Dates

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Case Study: St Kilda Gatehouse Inc

ProjectNavigating a New Path

Amount$151,292 over two years



This grant was approved under our previous grants policy
Building capacity Assist young women aged 13 to 24 years transition out of street sex work through an intensive outreach and mentoring program.
Extending opportunity Offer a pathway to a safe and stable life through the coordination of health services, accommodation, education and ultimately employment.
Collaboration and partnership Partnership established with Whitelion, and collaboration with organisations including Open Family Australia, Victoria Police, St Kilda Youth Services and DHS Youth Services.

Helping young women break away from street sex work, drug addiction and homelessness.

St Kilda Gatehouse is a safe haven that offers street sex workers services including emergency aid, advocacy, counselling and transitional care. Navigating a New Path (NANP) usedsintensive case management to assist young women aged 13 to 24 break out of the traps caused by trauma, homelessness and drug addiction that can lead to street sex work. Many have experienced statutory care, and enter street sex work as a way of meeting their basic survival needs as they transition to independence.

Launched in April 2012 as a partnership between St Kilda Gatehouse and Whitelion, NANP used intensive outreach work and mentor support to engage with vulnerable young women and connect them with social services and their local community.

While the project originally focused on the St Kilda area, further research revealed greater needs around Fitzroy public housing, Dandenong and Footscray. It also became clear that at-risk teenagers as young as 13 should be targeted.

Project aims included:

  • Reducing young women’s involvement in street sex work
  • Highlighting education/training and/or employment opportunities to those at risk of ongoing involvement in street sex work
  • Reducing substance dependence and supporting the development of protective factors such as stable housing and education/training opportunities
  • Developing positive relationships, confidence and self-esteem.

11 volunteer mentors were fully trained, 15 at-risk young women received intensive one-on-one support and 30 were engaged through assertive outreachAll numbers were anticipated to increase as the project expanded. Much valuable information about needs and service delivery was uncovered and shared with partners and stakeholders.

“The grant from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust allowed us to step into this space and help where no one has gone before,” said St Kilda Gatehouse CEO, Sally Tonkin.

“We are working where women’s lives are in crisis, where it is so difficult to get out of addiction and sex work. We are also helping to divert young women away from the lives these older women have experienced.”




“We are working where women’s lives are in crisis," says St Kilda Gatehouse CEO, Sally Tonkin