A home for girls without a home
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The Girls Refuge is a lifeline to young women and girls needing a safe space.

A home for girls without a home

by Jessie Tu See Profile
Leichhardt NSW 2040, Australia
1st Dec 2018
A home for girls without a home

On any given night in Sydney, more than 6,000 people aged under 18 are homeless across New South Wales. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing that’s roughly 20% of the total number of homeless people in Australia.

Of those 6,000, roughly half of those are girls.

The Girls Refuge is a safe-house for girls aged 13 -17 that offers short term crisis accommodation. The centre is financially assisted by government funding and the daily operation of its services run on the benevolence of community leaders. The centre nurtures and supports girls who are experiencing domestic hardships, and provides ongoing planning advice and strategies to move their lives forward into a healthier, more positive future.

Young women aged 15-24 require the highest rate of assistance from specialised homelessness services. Domestic, family violence and sexual assault are the main reasons for needing assistance, with one in 4 young people needing help between 2014-15. The Girls’ Refuge can be a lifeline to many young girls who are desperate and needing a safe space.

Girls not only feel safe, looked-after and nurtured, they are also encouraged to thrive through the generous programs within the centre which enable them to further their own education (high school, TAFE, apprenticeships or tertiary studies). The Girl’s Refuge also provides lessons on cooking, self help, health, financial independence and legal advice. These aspects of leading one’s life is vital for the girls to gain their own sense of dignity and self-esteem. To aid these girls in this way is very much to help the wider community.

The centre is rare and special in a big city like Sydney. The team of social workers and community leaders work closely with each other to support each individual, providing opportunities for them to gain independence and self-esteem through empowerment and skills.

Though a portion of funding is received through the government under the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, these programs and facilities cannot be sustained without the generous donation and charity from the wider public. You can contribute to the centre’s management and organisation by visiting their website and making a financial contribution.

I have worked in many social progressive groups that support under-privileged citizens in the Middle East, Asian and South America and never have I experienced the extraordinary care and empathetic generosity of the women who run the The Girls Refuge. From the General Manager, to the Case Managers, the Youth Workers and the Clinical Supervisors the way in which the centre responds to the girls allows them to continue working towards restoring their own sense of self and well-being.

Learn more by visiting The Girls Refuge online.

The Girls Refuge
Jessie Tu

About Jessie Tu

Jessie Tu is a writer and performer from Sydney, Australia. She was a recipient of the Development Grants from the Australia Council for the Arts in early 2018 and winner of 2017 Joseph Furphy Literary Prize. Between 2016 - 2018, she travelled to New York City to complete her first novel. She has performed at the Sydney Writers Festival and published poems, essays and stories in The Guardian, Meanjin, Australian Book Review, Mascara Literary Review and Southerly. She was a shortlisted prize winner for the International Peter Porter Prize for poetry and runner up in the Deborah Cass Prize in 2017. Her first book of poems,“You should have told me we have nothing left” was published by Vagabond Press in March 2018.

More from Jessie Tu


Health Care
Leichhardt NSW 2040, Australia
1st December 2018