Edwina* was experiencing multiple complex issues including domestic violence, mental health, financial issues and social isolation.
She came to the Cairns Community Legal Centre for advice on a family law issue because her ex-partner had recently filed an urgent application with the court which prevented Edwina from spending time with her son. One of the Cairns Community Legal Centre Solicitor provided assistance and advice to Edwina to help her draft a response to the family law court application her ex-partner had filed.
Edwina's relationship with her child’s father was characterised by significant emotional, psychological and physical abuse. The centre was able to ensure that the father was unable to secure orders which would have allowed him to continue to exert power and control over Edwina. Cairns Community Legal Centre’s Social Worker linked Edwina in with other support services to ensure a safety plan was in place so that Edwina could care for her child in a home free from violence and control.
A recent significant mental health issue resulted in Edwina being admitted to a secure psychiatric facility for treatment. The social worker was able to support Edwina to challenge the assessment of risk in relation to her mental health. This included helping her to show documents from her treating psychiatrist which said she posed no risk to her child despite her mental health issues.
The Centre supported Edwina to put in place a safety plan so she could connect with friends and engage with community services.
Edwina was experiencing financial disadvantage as she was unable to work for several months. The Centre helped Edwina get legal advice and social support, including support on the day of court despite her financial disadvantage. The Centre referred Edwina to Legal Aid so that they could provide ongoing legal representation beyond the temporary orders which the Centre assisted her with.
Edwina said that she was extremely happy with the services provided by the Centre and that she believed she would have struggled to navigate the complexities of the court process without the support of the solicitors and social workers at the Cairns Community Legal Service.
* Actual names have not been used.