Save Lillian's Youth Refuge

Hello dear readers, I've asked for your help a bit lately, but now I'm going to ask again to help out on a cause that is very dear to my heart.

Under the "Going Home, Staying Home" reforms to the provision of welfare services in NSW, the government has announced it's intention to close services and refuges that cater to women and girls only. Whilst "equality" is a noble goal, the reality is that women and girls are overwhelmingly at risk from family violence and abuse, with domestic violence a major cause of homelessness. Female only refuges are absolutely essential to provide a safe place for those fleeing abuse. But these services are being cut, and one of those is the Lillian Howell Project in inner Sydney, more informally known as "Lillian's".

Lillian's is a medium to long term refuge for young women aged from 14-19, run from a feminist ethos. Lillian's aims to empower young women by helping them to continue (or return to) their education, set goals for themselves, transition to independent living and lead productive, kick ass lives. And they took me on for my youth work student placement (despite being, as the fabulous manager told me later, "the most nervous student we've ever seen", then as a paid worker once I graduated. And they sent me to conferences and talks, and were great mentors, and I wish I'd had a Lillian's when I was having troubles as a teen and I was in awe of the great work they did with the young women in their care.

And now they're facing closure. It will be a huge loss to the women who live there, the women who work there, the sector that sees more than half of all applicants turned away due to lack of places. We need more refuges for young women, not fewer -  or none. So I'm asking you here to help stop Lillian's and other vital women-centred services from closing, to place enough pressure on the government they rethink their decision which will put the lives of women and girls at risk. Please go here to download the community petition; take it to work, put it in your shop, share it as much as you can. Share this post and links to the campaign. We need to do whatever we can to stop these services from disappearing; once they're gone we may never get them back.

EDIT: there is a direct petition here at change.org. Please sign and share it's really important.

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