Flat Out is a state-wide homelessness support and advocacy service for women 18+ (with/without children), who have had contact with the criminal justice and/or prison system in Victoria. Flat Out does not have housing.

Flat Out and its staff are committed to supporting the rights, safety, participation and empowerment of all children.

Flat Out is an independent, not for profit, community based organisation that is managed by and for women.

Flat Out is committed to co-creating safer spaces, fostering support and self-determination for people who identify as sistergirls, intersex, transgender and/or gender diverse women. We respect that identity is for the individual to define, and work collectively to ensure that people with these identities are accorded respect and access to our support and advocacy, and provided ongoing opportunities to inform policies concerning the intersection of their identities with experiences of criminalisation.

The Flat Out Management Collective (Board) embraces fairness and equality through the essential roles of governance, management and leadership that are underpinned by a comprehensive set of values, policies and procedures and delegated authority.

Flat Out receives government funding through the Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria), the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (Commonwealth), and project funds from various sources to increase our capacity to deliver innovative and effective services, advocacy and social change. Government funding is for the purpose of providing individualised support and advocacy for women (with or without children) to address homelessness, drug and alcohol treatment and a range of other support and advocacy to address the underlying causes of criminalisation.

Independent funding is raised through donations, grants and grassroots fundraising for the purposes of Flat Out’s social change and systemic advocacy work.

Flat Out leads and participates in research and community education, seeking to inform the wider community about the harms that occur for women in the criminal justice system. Flat Out works directly with women who have experienced criminalisation and/or incarceration and to improve the rights and conditions of women in prison. Flat Out works to prevent women from going to prison, and keeping women out of prison once they are released.

The theories and values that underpin Flat Out’s work have remained constant since Flat Out’s inception (1988). Through community involvement, education and research, Flat Out works toward having a strong voice in the prison abolition movement in Australia and internationally. Our vision is that eventually prisons will be viewed as antiquated, cruel and ineffective institutions. Not unlike the movements to abolish slavery; movements to end racism; the women’s liberation movement, and the movement to end homelessness. Flat Out seeks to work alongside diverse communities to end all forms of inequality and unfairness. We see all these movements as interconnected.

We strive to honour our commitments to women who are criminalised, friends and supporters of Flat Out, the broader community and our funders.

Flat Out Values

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people’s as the first peoples of Australia
  • Our organisation being run by & for women
  • Working with women who are criminalised
  • Providing high quality support services & advocacy
  • Freedom, equality & self-determination
  • Social justice & economic opportunities for all
  • Everyone has the right to lead safe, violence-free lives
  • Being part of a movement to end criminalisation and imprisonment
  • Working with the wider community toward our vision

Our Vision

Women are not criminalised or imprisoned

How will we get there

  • We will maintain Flat Out as an independent, not for profit organisation.
  • We will remain focused on working with women who are criminalised.
  • We will provide high quality woman-centred support and advocacy.
  • We will support women to obtain appropriate and affordable housing.
  • We will support women in their journeys to good health and wellbeing.
  • We will support women to reconnect with family and community.
  • We will actively promote effective alternatives to criminalisation and imprisonment.
  • We will lead and contribute to effective social and systemic change.
  • We will work with the wider community towards our vision.

Management Collective (Board) and Employees

  • Flat Out is governed by a Management Collective (Board) made up of, up to 7 women from the community with skills in: finance and accounting, law, housing, individual support and advocacy, co-ops, policy and research, communication and grassroots community campaigns. The Flat Out Management Collective (Board) embraces fairness and equality through the essential roles of governance, management and leadership that are underpinned by a comprehensive set of policies, procedures and delegated authority.
  • The Flat Out employee team consists of an Executive Officer, Manager, Service Practice & Design, Manager, Strategic Systemic Advocacy, Finance Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Administration Resource Coordinator, the Outreach Support and Advocacy & Women Transforming Justice Project team  and a Family Violence Justice Project employee.
  • Organisational exemptions for Flat Out – http://www.flatout.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/H154-2017-order-17.8.17-exemption-valid-to-23-August-2022.pdf