VOTES NEEDED: CEO of Wollongbar's Heartfelt House, Kate Loubet, is a finalist in a category of the NSW Women of the Year Awards, and needs votes to get the gong.

Your vote will shine a light on important cause

Importantly, Ms Loubet said she wanted people to vote for the cause that Heartfelt House stood for, rather than her personally. Heartfelt House provides support services to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, as well as their partners, friends and families.

Ms Loubet said the organisation had in the 13 years since it was established run group therapy workshops for about 250 women, and, when their partners, friends and families were added, more than 400 people had been supported. “I’m hoping people will vote for the cause,” she said.¬†“The nomination puts Heartfelt House on the map. Group therapy for survivors is invaluable support and the award recognises the benefits of group therapy – it shines a light on the work we do.¬†“And the community – it (the award) recognises Wollongbar and puts a spotlight on the Northern Rivers as the place for this unique service.”

Ms Loubet, who has extensive experience in the domestic violence field, became involved with Heartfelt House just after it was established as a volunteer and then a group therapy facilitator. She has been CEO for two-and-a-half years, and has recently completed a First Class Honours Degree through Southern Cross University, with her thesis looking at the impact of group therapy sessions on adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

She said the work of Heartfelt House had been underfunded, and she hoped being a finalist in the state award would also help secure more government funding at both state and federal levels.

Voting for the finalists closes on Feb 15, and the winner will be announced on March 7 on the eve of International Women’s Day in Sydney. Vote at women.nsw.gov.au/awards.