A support worker from a family violence outreach service referred Jamila to our duty lawyer at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court.
Jamila is from Bangladesh where she met and married her husband Assad. Shortly after, they came to Australia to live.
Assad helped Jamila transition to life in Australia and the early part of their marriage was happy and relatively incident free. However, once the honeymoon phase of their marriage ended, Assad started to display a short temper and aggressive behavior. Jamila started to be verbally abused by Assad and his behavior became more controlling.
This behavior became worse when Assad lost his job and Jamila became the sole financial provider. Assad also insisted that Jamila send money back to Bangladesh to help support his family.
The situation became more precarious and the verbal abuse escalated into physical abuse, forcing Jamila to contact the police in early 2018.
When Jamila met with our lawyer she was at a mental crossroads, unsure whether to stay in her marriage or end it. On one hand, she was experiencing severe stress and anxiety because of the sustained abuse from Assad which she knew she could not endure; yet part of her still hoped that Assad would attend counselling as recommended by the police and that they could reconcile.
Jamila wanted specific advice about financial matters and property settlement, especially in regard to their jointly owned family home. The mortgage repayments were being solely covered by Jamila.
Our duty lawyer was able to give Jamila both legal and non-legal support that outlined her options and the processes that she would need to go through. The legal advice was provided in a way that Jamila’s safety was prioritised. Jamila was also encouraged to contact the Centre again if she needed further advice or decided to pursue ending the marriage.
Jamila was very appreciative of the advice she was given and she felt both informed and empowered she also “felt clearer about her options.”