Meet Shaida

Find out about the legal and non-legal issues that she is experiencing. Shaida’s story includes family law, recovery order, and immigration issues.

Shaida is a fictional character. Read the case study in full and find out what the legal and non-legal issues are by clicking on the highlighted text on the next page.

Shaida and Nabil recently arrived in Australia from Lebanon. They were married five years ago in Lebanon and have two children aged two and four years old. Nabil’s brother lives in Australia and Shaida has a cousin living interstate.

The move to Australia has been very stressful. Nabil has not been able to secure employment. Nabil and Shaida have been constantly fighting.

Shaida has been going to an English class at the local community centre to try and improve her English language skills and to meet other women and families who have migrated to Australia.

Nabil does not like it when Shaida goes to these classes. Shaida says: “When I come home, Nabil can be in a terrible mood and pick a fight with me about the smallest things.”

On a number of occasions, Nabil has thrown objects at Shaida including a glass, which narrowly missed her face and hit the wall.

Shaida says that Nabil gets angry quite a lot. He shouts at her and tells her that everything is her fault. He is much taller than her and often when he is angry he hovers over her and holds his fist up to her face.

Shaida tried to leave Nabil. However, when she said she was going, Nabil said: “Well you better say your good-byes to your children because you will never see them again. I’ll make sure of it.” Shaida became stressed and worried that if she did leave Nabil he would take the children from her.

Shaida has arrived at your service crying and in a panic. Shadia says to you: “I came home from doing the shopping and Nabil and the children were gone. I don’t know what to do”

Legal and Non-Legal Issues

Shaida has been going to an English class at the local community centre to try and improve her English language skills and to meet other women and families who have migrated to Australia.

Non-Legal

As a recently arrived migrant to Australia Shaida may be facing some unique barriers such as language difficulties, isolation from family, friends, and community back in Lebanon, and experiencing racism and discrimination.

Shaida may benefit from being referred to a specialised support service for women who are from cultural and linguistic diverse backgrounds and are new to Australia. See the Ask LOIS CALD Services page for more information and links to appropriate services

Shaida may need the assistance of an interpreter when dealing with support services. See the Quick Guide to Working with Interpreters in Legal Settings factsheet for some useful information about working with interpreters

Nabil does not like it when Shaida goes to these classes. Shaida says: ‘When I come home, Nabil can be in a terrible mood and pick a fight with me about the smallest things.’

Non-Legal

Domestic violence comes in many forms and can include emotional or psychological abuse. See the Emotional Abuse is Real and Everyone Has a Right to Feel Safe in Thier Own Home factsheets for information on the different forms of abuse.

On a number of occasions, Nabil has thrown objects at Shaida including a glass, which narrowly missed her face and hit the wall.

Non-Legal

Throwing or damaging property is domestic violence. It is physical abuse and a form of intimidation. See the Power and Control Wheel for insight into how physical abuse and intimidation can be used in power and control.

He is much taller than her and often when he is angry he stands over her and holds his fist up to her face.

Legal

Shaida’s personal safety is a priority. Shaida should be told about the benefits of an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order. See The Law and Domestic and Family Violence factsheet for more information about AVOs and legal protections for victims of domestic violence

Shaida tried to leave Nabil. However, when she said she was going, Nabil said: ‘Well you better say your good-byes to your children because you will never see them again. I’ll make sure of it.’ Shaida became stressed and worried that if she did leave Nabil he would take the children from her.

Legal

Shaida needs to get some family law advice to find out how decisions about parenting arrangements for children are made in Australia. See the Living Without Violence – Parenting After Leaving Domestic Violence factsheet and Legal Aid’s Best for Kids website for more information.

Shaida has arrived at your service crying and in a panic.

Non-Legal

Shaida will need emotional support and may benefit from counselling. Victims Services offers 20 hours of free counselling for victims of crime including victims of domestic violence. For more information see the Victims Services website

Shadia says to you: ‘I came home from doing the shopping and Nabil and the children were gone. I don’t know what to do’.

Legal

Shaida needs to seek some urgent legal advice about how to go about locating her children.

As a community worker ask Shaida questions such as:
– Do you know where Nabil has gone or where he is likely to go?
– Have you tried contacting Nabil?
– Do you have current passports for the children?

The answers to these questions will help a solicitor advise Shaida about how to get her children back.

When a parent has taken a child without the consent of the other parent, they can apply to the Family Law Court for a recovery order. A recovery order is like a warrant for the return of the children and empowers the state, territory and federal police to find and return the children. If a parent does not know where the child has been taken they can also apply for a location order to get information from individuals or government departments like the Commissioner for TaxationCentrelink or Housing NSW about where the other parent is and where the children may be. For more information read the Chiildren and Parenting Arrangements: Women and Family Law 9th Edition booklet.

Shaida should seek legal advice on victims compensation – to ensure that she knows about all her legal options as a victim of violence. For more information on victims compensation visit the Victims Services website

 

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