Zamina is a 30-year-old woman from Afghan background who arrived in Australia with her husband in 2017 on a partner visa and was later granted a permanent visa. She does not speak English and has three children under 10 years of age. The family experienced physical and emotional abuse by multiple perpetrators including the husband. SECL intervened to find solutions for Zamina and her children who fled home in fear of their safety and who were vulnerable and distressed.
Zamina and her three children fled following several experiences of violence which included one of the children being attacked with a mobile phone charger chord. The violence was perpetrated by Zamina’s husband and brother-in-law. Police attended the most recent incident when it was reported by an unknown source.
With support of the community leader, Zamina and her children were referred to emergency accommodation and placed in a hotel and later a refuge. During the COVID- 19 pandemic, Zamina and her children were confined to a hotel room with a bare minimum of clothing and personal belongings. Zamina was overwhelmed and exhausted, and the children presented with severe anxiety which including sleeping and eating problems. The family wanted to return to their home and was experiencing declines in mental health compounded by feelings of hopelessness, lack of cultural familiarity and limited social connections.
SECL provided emotional and practical support during this time such as emergency crisis payments, internet data top up and transportation costs. SECL advocated for additional supports and provided a bi-cultural worker who supported family violence specialists to meet the family’s needs.
SECL supported Zamina and her children with frequent emergency crisis payments until she started receiving appropriate Centrelink payments due to her changed circumstances. She was also supported to establish a bank account in her name.
SECL strongly suggested the refuge make crucial referrals to a resettlement program and a therapeutic counselling program. Along with these services, SECL was able to consistently provide and share cultural insights and knowledge to other specialist family violence services to help enhance their practice when working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) and refugee communities.
Zamina learnt new skills and built confidence in navigating regular life activities, household chores and financial services. Zamina and her children secured a private rental of their own and were supported to access different programs to improve recovery, wellbeing, and overall independence in life.