Problems on the rise
A GUILDFORD resident who established a charity to tackle social issues says she has seen a surge in underage drinking, ice and meth use, an increase in violence, paranoia, agitation, anxiety and self-harm.
AS a young woman in her teens and early 20s, Patricia Lavater spent her nights walking the streets of Midland.
While this may seem dangerous, it was because she was concerned for young women she saw who were addicted to heroin, sleeping in cars, and runaways.
So concerned was she about their wellbeing that Ms Lavater established a youth drop-in centre at the ripe old age of 17; by then she’d already been helping people in crisis for three years.
From those humble beginnings, the Guildford resident, now 53, established the Esther Foundation, which is now a recognised charity tackling some of society’s most pressing issues.
Those issues include substance abuse, sexual and emotional abuse, domestic violence, mental health, pregnancy, self-harm, family breakdowns, bullying, depression and eating disorders.
The residential women’s health and development organisation now operates seven homes in Perth, housing up to 30 young women and their children, making it the largest of its kind in Australia.
Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, the foundation has grown and has most recently opened a new opportunity shop in Como, next door to the Cygnet Theatre.
Patricia Lavater says the new store is just another way of helping some of the many women she sees in crisis today.
“I am seeing a surge in under-age drinking, the use of ice or meth, an increase in violence, paranoia, agitation, anxiety and self-harm, which is horrific to encounter at any age.
“We are seeing young girls aged 12 who are drinking and taking drugs and their future is not looking good.
“I have seen the changes in the streets and more work needs to be done now to save our children’s future,” she said.
The new op shop opened in July and is staffed by some of the women the Esther Foundation has helped.
Lil Ladyman (left) and Anita Maxwell in Esther Foundation’s new op shop in Como.