The Lady Musgrave Trust, Queensland’s oldest charity and champion for homeless women, has partnered with Small Steps 4 Hannah to launch an online information and service directory for Queensland women in need.
Speaking at The Lady Musgrave Trust’s 14th Annual Forum for Women and Homelessness, held at QUT Gardens Point Campus, Small Steps 4 Hannah Founders Sue and Lloyd Clarke said the online Handy Guide will connect women with the support and services they need to escape domestic violence and find safety.
The murder of Sue and Lloyd’s daughter Hannah Clarke, and their grandchildren Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey, shocked the world in February 2020 and has become a ‘line in the sand’ moment for domestic violence in Australia.
“If Hannah had something like the online Handy Guide, it would have been so helpful for her,” Sue Clarke told attendees at the Forum.
“She didn’t know where to go. She didn’t know where to look. She didn’t know what to do… if she’d have had access to a one-stop shop like this website, it would have been invaluable.”
The Lady Musgrave Trust, which helps Queensland women and their children get back on their feet and find safe and secure housing, has been producing physical copies of The Handy Guide since 2009.
In that time, it has become an indispensable service directory for at-risk women and their children, and an important resource for governments, hospitals and not-for-profit organisations.
The Trust received funding from theSmall Steps 4 Hannah Foundation and the Queensland Community Foundation, which contributed to the costs of developing an online version of the Handy Guide – making this essential resource even more readily available and accessible.
Louise Kelly, President of The Lady Musgrave Trust, said the online Handy Guide will provide help for women when they need it most.
“The online Handy Guide will provide knowledge, and therefore power, to women who may have thought they had lost their power and had nowhere to go,” Ms Kelly said. “And that will make women safer.”
Ms Kelly said The Lady Musgrave Trust will continue to print and distribute physical copies of the Handy Guide.
“It will continue to evolve alongside the online version,” she said. “Regardless of if you’re using the online version or the hard copy, we want this to be an accessible platform for women to be connected to the services they need.”
Held to coincide with Homelessness Week (1-7 August), The Lady Musgrave Trust’s Annual Forum for Women and Homelessness brings together representatives from the Queensland Government and organisations across the homelessness sector to collaborate on making Queensland the country’s safest state for women.
The theme of this year’s event, held in person and viewable live online, was ‘The pathway to homelessness for women in Queensland – a story of coercive control, violence and systemic disadvantage’.
“We weren’t aware of coercive control,” Sue Clarke said. “We saw the consequences, we saw the damage it did, but we didn’t know it had a name. We wanted to help start the conversation, and help everyone to understand what coercive control was.”
At any one time there are more than 10,000 women in Queensland who are experiencing homelessness, a number that is believed to be underreported.
Domestic and family violence is the primary reason women and children seek specialist homelessness services, which is why The Lady Musgrave Trust remains active after 137 years in helping find women and their children a home to shelter and live their lives in security and safety.
“On the one hand, it’s wonderful that The Lady Musgrave Trust is 137 years old and still going strong,” The Lady Musgrave Trust CEO Victoria Parker told attendees at today’s forum.
“On the other hand, it’s a tragedy that The Trust is still necessary.”
The online Handy Guide, created by The Lady Musgrave Trust with support from Small Steps 4 Hannah and Queensland Community Foundation, can be viewed now at thehandyguide.com.au
Donate to The Lady Musgrave Trust at ladymusgravetrust.org.au/make-a-donation