Simone Patterson

Gold Coast, Queensland

Refuge operator, counsellor

Simone spent almost 30 years working in community services, as a social worker and counsellor, in Sydney. When she moved to the Gold Coast, she was dismayed to discover that domestic violence was just as prevalent there. Understanding that women often stay in violent relationships for fear of leaving pets behind, Simone set up The Sanctuary – a refuge that welcomes animal companions. The pets stay with women and children in units, which Simone and her loyal supporters have made welcoming and secure. The refuge also offers support services to help women build healthy, safe and independent futures.