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My brother in law was sentenced yesterday...how do I support my sister?

Community Member

My brother in law was sentenced yesterday. The sentence is >2 years. He grew up in Australia since he was a child but never changed his citizenship to Australian (due to dual citizenship restrictions from the other country). Because of new laws introduced in 2014 he is now likely to face deportation.

My sister is in a lot of pain. She doesn't want to talk and I respect that. It is all very new. They have 2 young kids. The future for their family is bleak. I have supported her the best I can so far helping her with resumes so she can reenter the workforce. She has a low paying job but she is getting by financially... just. Things will be harder now my brother in laws income is gone (he was doing warehouse work).

I just feel so helpless. I'm also really sad for her. What is the best thing to do? Do I leave her a few days and give her space and time? How else can I help? I sent her an sms and said that I love her and we are in this together but I know she is carrying the most weight of what's happening. The kids are so young and she is trying to hold up a brave face but I know she must be in agony. I also told her there was no need to call back and I am here if she wants to talk. During the trial lots of people were calling her and she'd organised her partner's mum to pick up her daughter from school and she forgot. So that meant the school was calling her. I just thought she could use a break from the phone and have some time to herself. I just don't want her to feel she is alone. 😞

It's so unfair. She did nothing wrong but now will suffer the rest of her life from this. Even if time is served, he may not be able to return to the family. We don't know the future but it is certainly looking bleak right now.

2 Replies 2

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi somewhere else. Welcome.

It has been a long time , 37 years since I left my warders job.

Relatives visiting any jail for the first time find it overwhelming with locking doors, uniformed workers, body searches if applicable. In many ways the visitor is doing it hard as the prisoner gets accustomed to it.

Also other factors like getting the kids minded and any emotional protection for the kids when and if they visit their dad etc. You are right, its a tough time for her.

Offering to assist her with this is the best thing you can do.

As far as being deported I'm not up with the laws but having a wife and two kids just might save him from being sent back.

In most cases I'm a great believer that the past you can't change. The future is shaped by the present. These sorts if positive statements might help your sister the most.

Tony WK

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi SomewhereElse,

Firstly welcome to the forums and thank you for reaching out to us. I am very sorry to hear about what your sister and brother in law are going through. It's a very tough situation and it's hard not to feel angry and upset about it.

I don't have too much experience with the sort of things you are going through, but from an outsider's perspective, I do feel that the best thing you can do right now is simply support her. Whether it's talking about it with her, minding the kids for a night or two, or taking her out to the movies or for a nice dinner to get her mind off things - all of these things show that you care about her.

It's definitely going to be a hard time for you and your family, and while you can't prepare for what's to come, you can do your best to lend a hand, make her laugh and try to live in the present.