Samara* is a young woman who came to Australia with her husband, Christof*, after an arranged marriage. Far from the safety of family and home, she found herself living a nightmare. Not only did Christof severely physically assault her, but he was also conducting criminal activities from their home.
Samara fled in fear, ending up in a refuge where she discovered she was pregnant. She went back to Christof because she was afraid she’d be homeless with a new baby.
The cycle of abuse might have continued, except Christof was arrested and imprisoned for possession of a weapon and drugs. And for threatening to kill Samara.
At eight months pregnant, Samara was referred to Berry Street. She came to meet with us, joined by Christof’s mother – who told our Family Violence team that Samara was responsible for her son’s incarceration. She tried to bully Samara to return to court and remove the Apprehended Violence Order after Christof’s release from prison.
Thankfully, our Family Violence practitioners are very skilfully trained in managing dangerous situations.
Our staff worked alongside Samara to help her understand the risks of violence to herself and her baby. And, even more importantly, helped find her safe housing and connected her with a community - homelessness and isolation often force mums like Samara to remain dependent on violent partners, so this practical help was critical to Samara remaining independent and free from violence.
Critically, Berry Street also helped Samara create a Safety Plan for after Christof’s release.
The generosity of our supporters has meant these interventions were timely and life-changing. Samara has now given birth to a healthy baby! She's still in regular connection with our Family Violence team, who are continuing to work together to make sure Samara doesn't need to rely on Christof or his family again.