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Client Stories


Amara* arrived in Australia to reunite with her husband, who later sponsored her Partner Visa application. The couple had met and gotten engaged in their country of birth. They lived apart on a longdistance basis for almost a year before marrying. Amara arrived in Australia on a Visitor Visa to start her new life with her husband.


At first Amara was happy. She felt supported by her husband and was hopeful they could start a family together. Unfortunately, her husband’s behaviour soon changed and he became extremely controlling, verbally abusive and often physically violent. He also threatened to have her visa cancelled and to get her deported out of Australia. When he later decided they would move into a caravan and live regionally, Amara felt even more isolated and unsafe, being newly arrived and with no community or family support around her.


At a time when Amara was emotionally and mentally struggling because she had experienced a miscarriage, instead of supporting her, her husband perpetrated further serious family violence, including strangulation. Amara decided she had no choice but to leave. When we first spoke to her, Amara had only recently escaped her husband with help from a friend. She was living in fear in a known location, unaware of her rights and the legal protections and social support she could access.


Northern Community Legal Centre gave Amara important initial legal advice, including how to contact and make a statement to Police, as well as directly referring her to a family violence support service. Our Mental Health Coordinator ensured she was quickly referred to a counselling service. This led to Amara receiving important access to emergency accommodation, other safety planning support (including a case worker), and counselling. NCLC was then able to offer wrap-around legal advice and support to Amara. Our Migration Lawyer gave her advice in coordination with our Family Violence Lawyer who supported Amara through the family violence proceedings, communicating with Police and the Courts as well as her support workers. Our Family Violence Lawyer also appeared in Court on several occasions to ensure an interim order and then final family violence order were made to protect her. Our Migration Lawyer also offered Amara further legal advice regarding the Family Violence Provisions and next steps to ensure she could legally remain in Australia.


Through holistic and wrap-around legal and mental health support, NCLC assisted Amara to start her pathway to safety.

*Name and identifying details changed for anonymity


Adele* incurred a large number of fines at the end of a relationship where she experienced family violence. Adele had been extremely traumatised by her ex-partner. When Adele presented to our service, she disclosed that she was having difficulties with drug and alcohol dependency, her housing situation was unstable, and that she was generally in poor mental health.


NCLC assisted Adele in finding services to address her housing situation. We also engaged Adele with a financial counsellor and drug and alcohol services. The majority of fines were for unpaid tolls as Adele had removed the E-Tag from her old car and placed it in her new car after her separation. She was unaware that the E-Tag had not been working for many months. NCLC applied to Fines Victoria to have Adele’s fines reviewed on the grounds of Special Circumstances. While Adele’s application was on foot, the Family Violence Scheme (FVS) was introduced. Based on Adele’s experience as a victim/survivor of family violence, NCLC submitted a Family Violence Scheme (FVS) application with Fines Victoria for Adele. This application was rejected as Fines Victoria weren’t satisfied that the fines were incurred due to family violence. This was upsetting for our client who commented, “What is the point of providing these schemes if they don’t benefit the people most in need of them?”


Support was offered to Adele by NCLC’s Mental Health Coordinator. Our lawyer again applied to Fines Victoria for Enforcement Review on the grounds of Special Circumstances - Addiction and Mental Illness. Upon reviewing our client’s application, Fines Victoria asked for additional supporting materials. NCLC advocated that sufficient evidence had been provided to Fines Victoria, and we maintained that our client was eligible for the Family Violence Scheme. We received a call from Fines Victoria one week later informing us that they had reviewed Adele’s file and had decided to process it again under the Family Violence Scheme.

*Name and identifying details changed for anonymity

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