Helping vulnerable people access justice in case study:
Samantha* is a 29-year-old mother with two children who suffered many incidents of severe physical violence at the hands of her now ex-partner. Samantha escaped the violent relationship with her children and moved into a crisis refuge.
When Samantha, in the company of police, returned to her ex-partner’s house to retrieve essential items, her ex-partner seized their youngest child. Samantha feared for her child’s safety given her ex-partner was known to associate with criminals and drug users.
Samantha contacted DVConnect for help who referred her to Legal Aid Queensland’s Application Assistance Program, based at the Brisbane Magistrates Court. The program’s domestic violence prevention workers help women experiencing domestic and family violence:
- to prepare an application for a domestic violence protection order or changes (variations) to an existing order
- to lodge domestic violence protection order applications at the Brisbane Magistrates Court
- by providing them with support in court
- with risk assessment and safety planning
- by referring them to relevant legal and community support services for their situation.
The Application Assistance Program’s domestic violence prevention workers helped Samantha with her legal aid application, an application for a domestic violence protection order and with safety planning, and were successful in gaining an urgent ex parte order for Samantha.
She was then referred to Legal Aid Queensland’s specialist Violence Prevention and Women’s Advocacy team where a lawyer helped Samantha to make an urgent recovery order application to the Federal Circuit Court. The recovery order was successfully made and the child was eventually located and returned to Samantha who was then moved to a different women’s refuge.
*Client’s name changed for confidentiality reasons.