Samantha's story - empowering Samantha and her family by providing legal services in a convenient and trusted setting
Keeping a family safe through access to justice
Samantha’s daughter, Bella, was receiving counselling at the Royal Children’s Hospital after disclosing sexual abuse by Samantha’s partner, Brett.
Samantha told the counsellor that there had also been a long history of family violence.
Despite it all – including DHHS and police involvement – Samantha and Bella were still residing in the same home as Brett. Samantha had never been offered independent legal advice and didn’t think they could ever escape. Not until her social worker at the hospital connected her to IMCL.
In its second year of this project, IMCL has continued to provide legal help to families with children in need, like Bella, with the aim of protecting their health and wellbeing and enabling them to flourish in life.
“If it wasn’t for the hospital, the counselling and the legal side...We would have been stuck there, afraid and just living in an unsafe environment...”
In Samantha’s case, an unsafe home environment was affecting her whole family.
Samantha also had two other children under 18. Acknowledging the severity of the risk posed to them, we acted quickly to help Samantha apply for an intervention order for herself and her two other children, and to vary Bella’s Intervention order to preclude any contact with Brett. Fearing Bella would be forcibly sent overseas by other family members against her and her mother’s wishes, we obtained urgent airport watch list orders.
With the immediate concerns addressed, we then applied for parenting orders for all three children to provide them certainty and safety around their contact with Samantha’s ex-partner.
“We feel protected by the law and we have people working here [IMCL] who not only do legal stuff, but they’re warm and open hearted and they listen..open ears, they hear us, they heard our story and they want to help us do things to set things straight.”
We continue to help Samantha to obtain a divorce and seek out child support payments to give her family complete freedom and the best chance to move on.