Ebony’s Story

Heavily pregnant with her unborn son, Ebony left her husband due to the extensive domestic violence she had suffered at his hands.

After the separation, Ebony was living alone with her newborn whilst experiencing severe post-natal depression. Adding to her stress, Ebony’s ex-husband’s family began harassing her, attending the home at all hours of the day and night as well as sending the police to her home.

The harassment exacerbated Ebony’s fragile mental health until she could no longer sleep and developed psychosis, believing people were knocking on the door constantly. Ebony was admitted as an involuntary patient to a mental health hospital after a food delivery service called police with concerns about Ebony’s presentation and the welfare of her son.

As Ebony did not have any immediate family support, her son was taken into the provisional care of the Department of Communities (the Department). Shortly after her admission, Ebony was referred by the Department to Ruah Legal Service’s Care and Protection (CAP) team.

Ruah’s CAP team worked intensively with Ebony to address the concerns of the Department. This included providing financial support to ensure she did not lose her housing and could continue to support herself.

The CAP team attended the Department meetings and continued to advocate for Ebony, who was eventually allowed unsupervised overnight contact with her son. Whilst the Department had applied for a 2-year order, Ebony was able to progress through the steps within 6 months.

At the time of her hospital admission, Ebony was in the process of completing a community services course at TAFE. The CAP team continued to support Ebony so she could complete her TAFE course, update her resume, and find the right job.

Ebony said, “I just don’t think I could have gotten out of that situation at all. [Without] the emotional and mental support and knowing where to go, the knowledge that they’ve [CAP team] given me, I wouldn’t have gotten [my child] back so quickly.”

*Name changed to protect client privacy.

Telephone Line

We’re available when you need it.

Referral Forms

Convenient downloadable forms for you.

More Stories

We support thousands of people every year – ensuring vulnerable people, and particularly people experiencing mental illness or impacted by the trauma of family violence, receive high-quality advice, advocacy and legal representation.

Learn More

Read more about Ruah Legal Services and the Mental Health Law Centre in our annual reports. From 2020-21, we report on our operations as ‘One Ruah’ reflecting our merger with Ruah Community Services in 2019 and the expansion of our integrated legal and non-legal support to families.


RUAH 2022-23 Annual Report

RUAH 2021-22 Annual Report

RUAH 2020-21 Annual Report

MHLC 2019-20 Annual Report

MHLC 2018-19 Annual Report

MHLC 2017-18 Annual Report

More About Ruah Legal Services



Law Reform
and Policy

and Supporters