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Anna lost her home, her children and very nearly her business as a result of domestic violence. She is slowly rebuilding her life with the help of the Central West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service…

Anna was a 30-year old professional with two children, aged two years and six weeks. She had relocated to Central West NSW, from Sydney, four years previously with her husband, and was living on a rural property with no mobile phone service.

Anna ran a successful business but her husband denied her access to money and insisted she buy all her clothes at a local second hand store.

The couple had a violent relationship and Anna concealed all her injuries from friends and family. Her husband was also ‘rough’ with the children.

Anna was referred to the Central West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service by a nurse at the local medical centre. The nurse had been treating her for suspected post-natal depression when Anna had made a disclosure of domestic and family violence.

Anna was connected with a domestic and family violence caseworker and the police were notified. She was assessed by police as at ‘serious threat of further injury or death’ and the family was removed to a remote refuge in rural NSW. Anna was assisted to open a new bank account and was accompanied to Centrelink to receive an emergency payment. The caseworker also arranged for security to be increased at her parents’ home.

Family and Community Services arranged for the children to be examined and it was discovered the youngest child had a bleed on the brain. The children were removed from Anna’s care into the guardianship of her parents, and Anna was denied visitation rights.

Anna and her parents were supported by the domestic and family violence caseworker during the removal and, over the following two years, she was accompanied to meetings with Family and Community Services, solicitors and Family Support Services.

Anna has since moved into a private rental in Sydney and has relocated her business to her new home. Despite the enormous trauma and financial strain she has endured, Anna has a home, a business and is fighting to get her children back.

*Name has been changed to protect identity