Dr Coralie Jenkin has been a volunteer AMEP tutor for nearly 30 years and her current student is a refugee from Syria. In her role as a volunteer tutor, Coralie spends one hour a week with her student teaching them English and helping them to settle into Australia. Our volunteer tutors offer so much more than just English, as you will see in this story.
Recently Coralie suggested a trip to the local police station to sort out a minor traffic offence. Here is the story in Coralie’s own words.
“I suggested a trip to the police station but she was frightened, ‘No!’, she told me, ‘terrible things happen in police stations. Violence. Torture. Imprisonment. She would not go to the police station. No, No, No!’
I explained that it is safe to go to a police station in Australia, and offered to take her to visit one. She was shocked, but eventually she reluctantly agreed.
I arranged a visit to the police station for my student through a police Multi-cultural Liaison Officer.
I called it the ‘Cop Shop’ to differentiate it from the police stations my student knew. She did not want to go, saying that her traffic offence had been sorted out. She told me again how scared she was. At last, she walked forward bravely to the station entrance, carrying her new baby.
Inside the station we met Senior Constable Kim Vaughan. My student was amazed as she did not know that women could be police officers. The two quickly began chatting, and my student’s fears disappeared, as she found that police were ordinary people, they had homes and gardens and families. They were interested in making her home and family safe. It was safe to go to the ‘Cop Shop’.”