Sally* is a 25 year old woman from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background. She is married with two young children and was living in Australia on a spousal visa with her husband, who is from the same cultural background.
In the presence of their children, Sally’s husband physically assaulted her, causing her to lose consciousness. He had physically assaulted her five times previously and emotionally abused her every day of their relationship. He controlled much of her daily life and social activities and restricted her access to their joint finances, leaving Sally with no money of her own.
The challenges of Sally’s situation
Sally was unable to work in Australia and had two small children who required her care. In addition, her visa status prevented her from qualifying for Australian Government financial assistance.
Sally was very reluctant to return to her home country due to the cultural resistance women experience if they leave the martial home. Sally was expected to remain in her marriage regardless of the violence perpetrated against her and the children.
Sally’s extended family pressured her to stay in the marriage and stand by her perpetrator husband, rather than to stand up to him and say ‘no more’.
What did EDVOS do to help Sally?
EDVOS provided Sally with a culturally aware advocate who was able to understand the cultural challenges women face when they experience family violence.
The EDVOS advocate played a vital role liaising with Child Protection Officers (CPOs), who were reluctant to leave the children in Sally’s care. They were able to explain the culturally significant problems CALD women experience while dealing with family violence.
The EDVOS advocate used the Flexible Support Package (FSP) to assist Sally, who decided to return to her home country where she had permanent residency. The package paid for travel expenses, emergency accommodation, taxi fares and other costs to ensure that Sally and her children got home safely and securely.
The EDVOS advocate worked with a family violence agency in Singapore who met Sally and her children upon arrival and took them to a safe refuge while Sally considered her longer-term options.
The remainder of Sally’s FSP funds helped pay rent, secure longer-term accommodation and allowed her and the children to live independently while they re-established their lives.
A positive outcome
Sally and her children are settling into life in their home country and are continuing to improve physically and psychologically.
Sally is reconnecting with the community and is beginning to engage with social activities.
Sally and the children are beginning to piece their lives together and heal from their family trauma of family violence.
*name changed to protect privacy.