Family Advocacy and Support Services – Sarah’s experience

Family Advocacy and Support Services – Sarah’s experience

Family Advocacy and Support Services – Sarah's experience

Note – real names and identifying information have been removed.

Sarah had been separated from her ex-partner for months and no longer lived in the marital home. It was only when she sought help that she began to identify herself as a victim of family violence.

She and her ex-partner had often had very heated arguments in front of their children and she had seen him be physically abusive toward them.

Because her ex-partner had never hit Sarah, she felt that she had never been abused. But she was frightened of him. This had worsened after they separated. He began stalking her and also tried to limit her contact with the children who had remained in his care.

After separating, Sarah’s ex-partner controlled the contact arrangements for the children. Sarah went along with this because she was fearful of how he would respond if she disagreed with him.

Working together to help keep mother and children safe

Sarah called the police after her children told her about an incident that had happened while they were in their father’s care. Her gut feeling was that they were no longer safe with him.

The police referred Sarah to the Family Law Registry to get urgent legal advice.

The new Family Advocacy and Support Services now available at the court meant that Sarah got help from a specialist family violence support worker and a lawyer.

The lawyer explained to Sarah what family violence was, and recommended that she apply for a family violence intervention order.

The lawyer also helped Sarah understand her legal options around parenting and child contact arrangements, and suggested that she contact Victoria Police to request a welfare check for the children who remained living with their father.

The support worker explained the many forms that family violence can take, contacted the local Magistrates’ Court to ensure Sarah would get help to complete an application for a family violence intervention order, and made a follow-up appointment with her.

Building confidence to do something

Sarah knew that she needed to do something.

While she hesitated about making an application for a family violence intervention order, she said that she felt a lot better having taken the first step to get advice.

Sarah said she would head to the Magistrates’ Court to make the application that afternoon.

How we can help

If you are involved in family law proceedings and have experienced, used, or are alleged to have used family violence, find out how we can help.

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You can also call us on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8.45 am to 5.15 pm, for more information about how we can help.