17 Case Study Number 8: Claudia and Henry







Age at time of marriage 



Age * 



Country of Origin  







High School incomplete

High School

English language ability 



Employment before migration  


No Information Available



Self-employed doing window cleaning

Category under which immigrated 

Family Sponsorship. Henry sponsored Claudia under the Spousal Sponsorship program.

No Information Available

Immigration status* 

Permanent Resident


Number of years of marriage: 8

Number of children:  

  •  Daughter: Faith (5 years)
  •  Daughter: Hope (5 years)


*At the time of the Family Court application 

Pre-Migration History and Settlement in Canada

Claudia came to Canada as a visitor in 1999 and met Henry in 2004. Henry was self-employed and had been living in Canada for 15 years. The couple started living together in a house owned by Henry.  Claudia overstayed her visitor status and was deported in 2006. At the time, she was pregnant with twins. Claudia lived with her daughters in Dominica for the next six (6) years.

Henry sponsored Claudia and their daughters for immigration to Canada. They arrived in Canada in 2012. Henry needed to establish his relationship to his daughters prior to this sponsorship through DNA testing. Claudia received Conditional Permanent Resident status. When they arrived, the family established themselves in a rented apartment because Henry had sold his house.


Domestic Violence  

From the beginning, Henry was emotionally and financially abusive toward Claudia; he was very controlling. He did not bring food into the house or provide for day-to-day expenses.  He would curse at Claudia and was always suspicious of her actions. He would control all her interactions with others. He kept the only key to their apartment and monitored everyone’s comings and goings. Henry was an alcoholic, drank excessively and would become loud and disruptive.

Things did not go well within the household. In addition to his drinking, Henry was neglectful. He did not provide Claudia with money for food nor clothing and was not involved with the children. The girls were scared of him, saying he smelled bad. They also expressed that they did not want to be in the house when he was there; they said they wanted to move away from him.

When they were enrolled in school, the girls began to struggle with behavioural issues (e.g. throwing things and bedwetting) and tried to run away from him. In addressing the girls’ issues, Claudia disclosed her partner’s behaviour to their teacher. Henry was called in and he was very upset. He started yelling at Claudia and behaving aggressively. After the meeting, he followed Claudia back to the house instead of returning to work to make sure she was not leaving the home. The teacher called Children's Aid Society (CAS) which immediately became involved in the matter maintaining contact with the family for the next two years.

The following day when Claudia had a friend visiting the apartment, Henry began swearing aggressively at them. He threatened Claudia, saying he would revoke her immigration status. Days later, in October 2012, fearful for her own and the children’s safety, Claudia went to a shelter with the girls. She had been in the country for less than six months.



Claudia continued to have the children in her care after the separation de facto custody. She was always the primary caregiver for her kids. Henry demanded custody of the children and did not want to pay child support: he felt that he had paid substantial fees associated with their sponsorship. The case came before Family Court in 2013 and ended mid-2015.  The court granted Claudia  sole custody of the children.  Henry got daytime access with the condition that he should not consume alcohol before and during access visits.  There was a mutual non-communication order between parties. Claudia had to withdraw her spousal support claim. The Children's Aid Society (CAS) continued to be involved in the case from 2012 onwards although they did not have child protection concerns. They supported Claudia and her children by providing counselling, support for housing and access to resources. Claudia continues to receive government assistance and provides for all the girls’ needs.


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Domestic Violence in Immigrant Communities: Case Studies Copyright © 2020 by Ferzana Chaze, Bethany Osborne, Archana Medhekar and Purmina George is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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