The Girls Refuge offers short term, crisis accommodation in a safe, home-like environment for girls aged 13 to 17 years who are going through a difficult time and are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Girls Refuge has been operating for over 40 years and was one of the first youth refuges in NSW.
It's managed by Detour House Inc along with 'Detour House', another service for women also in the heart of Sydney. The services are operated by experienced staff and overseen by a management committee of professional women from the local business and health community. The Girls Refuge and Detour House are funded by the Department of Family and Community Services as Specialist Homelessness Services to provide people in crisis with safe and secure accommodation and housing.
Continue reading below and on the tabs above for more information about The Girls Refuge.
For information about Detour House go to detourhouse.org.au.
The Girls Refuge is a safe, home-like environment for teenage girls who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or going through a difficult time and whose families need some extra support. We also provide support in the community for girls and young women living independently or with their families. Girls can stay at our refuge, located in Sydney’s inner west, for up to three months.
When girls and young women first arrive at the refuge, we’ll talk to you about your needs and goals so together we can work out a plan. Sometimes girls have come from very difficult or traumatic circumstances, so if this is what’s happening for you we’ll wait until you’re settled in and feeling calm and safe before progressing.
We’ll provide a safe bed in the big, comfortable house. We’ll support you so you can go to school or TAFE. Younger girls remain in school while older girls are encouraged to enrol in further education and training. You’ll learn about looking after your health, cooking healthy food, managing your money and getting legal advice. We can connect you to the right people to talk to about your problems and things that have happened to you.
We can also help you find other long term accommodation and speak to other organisations that are there to help you.
There are eight beds and you’ll receive weekly, individual case management. The beds are for short term stays. We care about your future too. We can stay in touch with you after you’ve left us and you’re welcome to come and stay again if you need to.
Monday to Friday...
Girls get up in time to get ready for school or TAFE. After school, the girls come home and touch base with staff, have some snacks, and do homework and any small household duties. On Wednesday nights between 5-6pm experts come in for workshops to give advice and answer your questions such as finding out about legal issues and looking after your health. Your nightly curfew depends on your age and is negotiated with staff.
... and on the weekends
Girls complete homework, do small household duties and cook together. You can also meet up with friends and family, or do outdoor activities with us. We aim to make your stay with us supportive, comfortable and fun.
Where possible, we work with family members to reunite families or keep them connected. This can mean arranging mediation or providing respite. Sometimes it’s just not possible, or at least not for a while, and that’s where the refuge can come in.
The Girls Refuge has a criteria for admitting girls to the service which are governed by our funding agreement with NSW Department of Family and Community Services. Referrals to the refuge are made by FACS, from the young person or their family members and also other agencies such as youth centres and the police.
Girls aged 13-15 will be taken in with the consent of a parent or guardian.
(If you're a young girl, and have no where to sleep and don't think you can get your parent's or guardian's consent, please contact us about your options. There may still be things we can do.)
Staying at the refuge
You need to know that your daughter (or, if you’re a guardian, the teenager in your care) is staying in a safe place.
Government funding doesn’t cover all the necessities. You will be asked to provide $100 a week during your daughter’s stay to contribute towards her food, travel and pocket money. If you’re a parent or guardian of a girl aged 16-17 years we will also ask you to communicate with our caseworkers and provide financial support for your daughter during her stay with us.
We work with NSW Family and Community Services caseworkers regarding children in their care.
Instead of needing the refuge, some families and young women just want some support at home. Our caseworkers provide this support and are also able to assist you with referrals to counsellors, government agencies and other community organisations.
‘I really think I’m one of the lucky ones. To be able to come to The Girls Refuge, stay at school and get away from the problems I had, it’s been an amazing opportunity.’
‘It’s safe, comfortable, and the staff are understanding and caring. It’s a home.’
‘When I walked in I was nervous but the first thing I thought was ‘wow, this is so nice, it’s like a home.’ I have a nice room and privacy and I like that there’s only women.’
‘TGR has given me the chance to be safe and to move on with my life.’
'When I first got there the initial feeling was freedom. I felt like the guy in the Shawshank Redemption, he finds his way out of the jail and once he’s out of the jail he feels amazing and he’s crawling through the river and feels so free and in control of his life and he’s so proud of himself!'
The Girls Refuge employs:
Senior Case Manager
Youth Workers and Youth Support Workers