Margaret’s Story

Margaret* had been in a relationship with Paul, the father of her son, for 10 years. She experienced significant physical violence and financial abuse throughout the relationship. Paul had been engaged in criminal activity and the pair had a significant drug history.

A women and a child. The child is behind the women with their arms wrapped around her.

Due to the violence, Margaret disengaged from the community and her son stopped going to school. This led to the removal of Margaret’s son from her care. When this happened, Margaret relapsed, after not using drugs for a year.

As Margaret took steps to live independently with her son, Women’s Legal provided legal support. Alongside Margaret’s lawyer, our senior financial counsellor
worked to manage fines and debts in Margaret’s name, liaising with Centrelink, accessing insurance entitlements and applying for grants. Margaret said that for the first time in years she was not afraid to answer the phone because of this help.

“Every Friday Brianna* would call and make sure I had a plan for the weekend to keep me safe, nobody else did that”.

The social worker partnered with Margaret’s lawyer to prepare evidence-based submissions to address the
concerns of Victoria’s Department of Families, Fairness and Housing which had removed Margaret’s son from
her care. This submission set Margaret and her son on a path to reunification.

After six months, the Department withdrew from Margaret’s case. The initial position of the Department had been to keep Margaret’s son in care for a
minimum of 12 months.

Our financial counsellors, social workers and lawyers working together – greatly improved the legal outcome of Margaret’s matter.

Margaret is now living independently, with a noncontact Family Violence Intervention Order in place to protect her and her son, and is well supported to continue this positive path.

You can read more about our impact for clients like Margaret in our 2023 Impact report.

* Names and image changed to protect our client and staff identity

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