A Queensland charity has launched an online information and service directory for women facing domestic and family violence, or who are at risk of homelessness.
- The Lady Musgrave Trust has received money to put its directory of support services and information for women leaving abusive relationships online
- The charity has distributed more than 220,000 print copies of the guide already
- Sue Clarke says the online guide could have been “invaluable” for her daughter Hannah
The Lady Musgrave Trust, the state’s oldest charity, has partnered with the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation and Queensland Community Foundation to distribute The Handy Guide, an online directory of support services for women in need.
Trust chief executive Victoria Parker said it was “extraordinary” to receive the funding from both organisations, given the group did not receive recurrent government funding.
She told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Kat Feeney both organisations had recognised the value of The Handy Guide.
The resource provides information about leaving domestic and family violence relationships, and covers coercive control, types of abuse, and how to stay connected to family or friends to stay safe in toxic relationships.
It also provides information on where women who are in crisis housing situations can seek help and financial and legal guides.
The charity has produced more than 220,000 copies of the free guide and distributed it across the state for more than 10 years.
“So really, when you’re in a situation that’s quite scary, or you’ve got a lot of decisions to make in a really short period of time, it’s very hard to find the organisation that can support you,” Ms Parker said.
“The next step, obviously, in the evolution of this handy guide was to take it online, and that’s what the funding has been used to do.”
Guide would have been ‘invaluable’
Small Steps 4 Hannah co-founder, Hannah Clarke’s mother Sue Clarke said an online Handy Guide could have helped her daughter.
Hannah Clarke, along with her three children Aaliyah, Laiana and Trey were murdered by her estranged husband Rowan Baxter in 2020.
“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,” Ms Clarke told the Trust’s Annual Forum for Women and Homelessness earlier this month.
Along with the online version, the charity will continue to print copies of the guide.
The Lady Musgrave Trust, which helps Queensland women and children find safe and secure housing, has been operating for 137 years and had “some good success”, Ms Parker said.
“But it is a tragedy that we’re still necessary and needed more than ever today,” she said.
“The housing supply of affordable and safe homes is very, very low, and the number of women who are needing safe places to go is increasing, so it’s pretty dire.”
The Trust has installed a “quick exit” button on The Handy Guide webpages that allow users to immediately be redirected to a neutral website.
“That quick exit button, which is available on every single page, is available in case the user needs to very quickly escape that page, so that the person that is seeing them using their computer can’t see the site that they’re on,” Ms Parker said.
However, clicking the exit button does not clear browsing history, but the charity does provide tips for women about how to stay safe online.