Young Women's Freedom Program
Since October 2018, Lighthouse has been providing a unique program in a care home specifically dedicated to supporting girls and young women who have left or are at risk of entering into an early/forced marriage and escaping modern day slavery. This home is the first Australian safe refuge designed to meet the recovery needs of these young women and girls (including those under the age of 18). Referrals come from a range of sources including the Australian Federal Police and Red Cross. We provide 24/7 live-in care and wraparound therapeutic support to help young women overcome their traumatic life experiences, build relationships and heal in a safe and secure environment.
Many of the young girls have experienced complex trauma from physical, sexual and psychological abuse are incredibly vulnerable. Their feelings of loss, confusion and sadness are heart-breaking. In almost all cases, they have no safe home or community to go back to. Our psychologists, case manager and carers help each girl to work through complex family, legal and immigration issues and sort out her finances, education and future plans. Together, we’re providing trauma-informed, therapeutic care that’s helping these girls to heal. The first successful transitions to independent living have now happened, and the girls have embraced the second chance at getting an education and taking personal agency over their own lives.
“Before the Lighthouse Early and Forced Marriage Therapeutic Home opened in Melbourne, it was a struggle to find suitable accommodation for victims of this crime who have been forced into homelessness. It was a challenge to find an organisation equipped to take in victims aged between 16 and 18. Many of these kids have experienced complex trauma from physical, sexual and psychological abuse and are incredibly vulnerable. They cannot be placed in accommodation that doesn’t have 24/7 supervision and proper therapeutic care. Homes with appropriate care and supervision just didn’t exist and it was a frustrating aspect of my job.” - Detective Sergeant Bevan Moroney, Head of the AFP’s Human Trafficking Team in Melbourne.