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TaskForce Community Agency has welcomed a new $1.21 Federal Government grant to help hundreds of the most vulnerable and marginalised girls and young women in Melbourne’s south east.

The grant, to the Living Free Project, aims to improve service system responses for young girls and women with multiple and complex needs.

In announcing the grant, Senator Jane Hume said: “TaskForce does important work providing wraparound support and compassionate care to vulnerable youth, adults and their families in Melbourne’s southeast.”

The Living Free Project brings together legal, health and community services to disrupt young women’s pathways to entrenched victimisation, associated offending and involvement with the justice system.

TaskForce Community Agency CEO Ray Blessing said:

“Our most marginalised and vulnerable girls and young women face significant challenges from an early age. Without intervention it is a clear trajectory that ends in repeated cycles of victimisation and justice system contact. With effective intervention girls and young women go on to live full and fulfilled lives.”

Mr Blessing said the Federal grant would:

  • provide direct support and case management for 220 vulnerable girls and women aged 12-to-24 across Melbourne’s southeast
  • aid with intervention for another 200 young Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse girls and young women across the region
  • help provide mentoring support
  • facilitate a young women’s community lawyer to help participants navigate complex legal needs as victim and offender
  • contribute to enhancing the legal knowledge of professionals from across sectors regarding vulnerabilities and responses for females in the legal system
  • support workshops for 200 professionals in the education, health and social services sectors so they have the evidence, knowledge and tools to appropriately respond to vulnerable and at-risk girls at the earliest possible time

Mr Blessing said “this project is an example of what we can achieve when we work together to support our most vulnerable girls and women and put their needs at the centre of it all”.


Since 2017, the Living Free Project has been generously funded by Victorian Legal Services Board Grants Program, The Ian Potter Foundation, Gandel Philanthropy, Westpac Community Grants, Equity Trustees and The Ross Trust, and is a gender-responsive, partnership project involving more than 30 organisations, including the TaskForce Community Agency, Peninsula Community Legal Centre, Women And Mentoring, and Victoria Police. More information can be found here.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Lisa Abbott | | 0410 407 034