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Life turned around thanks to help from Emerge
February 24, 2021
After three years of living with Emerge, Mi* and her family’s lives have been turned around for the better. She has a new Office of Housing home and permanent residency in Australia. Her life is on the up.
It has not always been like this.
She came to Australia from Vietnam on a student visa, fell in love and married. Her partner turned violent soon after the marriage, and she fled with her family.
Without permanent residency status at the time, her vulnerability was heightened as she had no access to money to fund everyday costs and no right to housing. As if this was not enough, Mi found herself under constant threat of being constantly searched for by her ex-partner.
Fortunately for Mi, she found herself at Emerge’s refuge where she was supported financially in a myriad of ways for three years. That support has come from Emerge’s own coffers, covering all living costs from food vouchers for the women to buy groceries and essentials for their families, money for haircuts and to buy Myki cards, costs to translate documents, medical bills, legal bills, the list is endless.
Securing government funding
The organisation has recently received Victorian government funding to provide for non-PR women without being out of pocket themselves.
The Victorian government support is welcomed by Emerge.
“The reality has been that when we receive a family without permanent residency, we are faced with enormous challenges,” Jessica, Manager Integrated Family Services, said.
Most family violence support services look after one non-PR family at a time. Emerge last year supported five non-PR families.
It is not just a financial challenge for Emerge, it is also trying to help the women through the legal maze of getting permanent residency.
“It is a long and complicated process,” Jessica said.
Emerge works with Refugee Legal, Australia’s largest provider of free specialist legal assistance to women in the visa journey.
That process includes having to prove that it is unsafe for the woman to return to her home country. In many instances, being successful depends on the visa that a woman has entered Australia in the first instance.
The partnership with Refugee Legal is vital, as Jessica attests.
“It has provided a lifeline for many of the women we have supported and are assisting,” Jessica said.
Mi agrees. Her life would be looking different now had it not been for Emerge and its many partnerships.
*not her real name.