Story 13: Reuniting Domestic Abuse Survivor with Family

2019-2022: New South Wales

In June 2019, Legal Aid NSW connected our firm Nomos with a representative of a women’s shelter, who made us aware of one of their clients and her desperate plight. At the time, the client (let’s call her ‘Sophie’) was in Australia as a permanent resident, while her 3 children remained in her homeland.

Sophie was a victim-survivor of domestic violence. She had been abused by her Australian citizen husband, and he had repeatedly promised that he would apply for visas for Sophie’s children to join them in Australia – but he never did. Sophie fled to a refuge rather than remain at the mercy of her husband. Whilst she was able to find security and support at the shelter, she remained desperate about the plight of her children, who remained half a world away, being cared for by elderly relatives in less than ideal circumstances.

That is where Nomos stepped in. Shortly after meeting Sophie and hearing her story, we agreed to take on the matter pro bono, and formulated a plan to help bring the children to Australia to be with their mother.

Nomos office space

After successfully navigating the various challenges faced in Sophie’s particular situation, we were able to secure permanent visas for the children in February 2020. Despite pandemic-related travel delays, the children finally arrived in Australia in March 2021. The day that Sophie and her children were finally reunited was one that we will all remember forever.

Earlier this year, we again assisted the family pro bono as they commenced the process of applying for Australian citizenship so that they can remain safely in Australia forever. In the year that the children have been in Australia, they have come so far. We were thrilled to hear that they are now studying hard so that they can support their mum, who never lost hope, and worked tirelessly to reunite her family.

Kathryn Rose Viegas, Principal Solicitor, Nomos

Since we first met Sophie, her life has changed immensely – from fleeing her now ex-husband to being reunited with her children in Australia and now taking the final step in their immigration journey, applying for citizenship. Clients like Sophie are the reason we work in this field, and it was a real privilege to help reunite this mother with her children. We are already looking forward to raising a glass once the family officially become Australian citizens!

This story was submitted by Nomos.