The Director of Foyle Women’s Aid has reissued an urgent appeal this morning for support for a Derry woman who is stranded thousands of miles from home with her young child.
The Derry Journal understands that the local woman and her son are currently in Australia and are homeless as they wait for legal proceedings to begin.
Sarah is very vulnerable with little to no resources for herself and her child. She is far away from home, alone, scared and without resources she needs to fight her case, get justice and come back home,”Marie Brown, Foyle Women’s Aid Director
Marie Brown said the woman initially refused to return to the country with her child to because she believed that they were at grave risk, but was compelled by court order to return her toddler to that country.
Legal proceedings have prevented the woman from being named or for speaking out on her own behalf.
“That’s why we are speaking on our behalf and we are making this urgent appeal to members of the public in Derry for help. This young woman has nothing and no one where she is. Many people in the city will remember the case of Cara Gunn, this case is worse because the woman had not lived in the country and has no support network whatsover there.
“Her child was born here and her parents, who are good hardworking Derry people, have already spent their life savings trying to help their daughter. They are distraught and we want to do all that we can to help.”
The woman, who has been told that she is not entitled to benefits or free legal aid, is not allowed to work and her savings have run out.
The woman’s family have said that they have no choice but to appeal to the public for help as she faces huge fees in her legal battle.
“She is absolutely terrified,” Marie Brown told the Journal this morning.
“Sarah is very vulnerable with little to no resources for herself and her child. She is far away from home, alone, scared and without resources she needs to fight her case, get justice and come back home,” said Women’s Aid director Marie Brown.
“Foyle Women’s Aid has been supporting Sarah since her return, and she isn’t being afforded the same protection she could access under normal circumstances here.”
Her child’s father took her to court under The Hague Convention and an order was made compelling her to return the child to the country they had fled.
Marie Brown insisted: “The Hague Convention is outdated and does not take into account the woman’s circumstances and fears. How is it right to leave a family so vulnerable?”
A fund has been set up to support the woman who is referred to as Sarah for legal reasons.
People can donate to the fund being managed by Foyle Women’s Aid at Danske Bank Sort Code: 950676 Account Number: 30006513 Derry people who may be able to offer support in Australia can do so by contacting Foyle Women’s Aid on 028 7141 6800