Nora Al-Khalif says the highlight of meeting Armidale police was finding out that nobody has the right to take her children from her.
Local police and community engagement groups met with about 200 of Armidale's approximate 600-strong Ezidi community at the Town Hall on Tuesday.
Presentations detailing the role of police and law in areas such as crime, domestic violence and traffic were held throughout the evening, with a BBQ and a display of cop cars and police dogs on show.
Armidale Police Inspector Darren Williams said the event was to break down the fear factor many Ezidis have had towards law enforcement where people in uniform were to be feared in their own country.
"It's just about making them feel welcomed and making sure they run to the blue shirt," Insp. Williams said.
He said many Ezidis in the community did not know who to turn to about issues such as housing, so meeting them gave police the opportunity to introduce community engagement groups.
The Ezidis are a persecuted minority group whose ancestral homeland is the Sinjar region of northern Iraq.
On August 3, 2014 ISIS terrorists killed, tortured, raped, maimed and forcefully converted thousands of Ezidis in an attempted genocide in the region.
Thousands remain missing, and many more have been displaced often living in refugee camps, while others who chose to return home still live in fear.
Nora said when she first arrived in Australia in 2018, she was terrified of police when she saw them carrying guns in their holsters.
But she said she has come to trust the police and that presentations like the one at Armidale's Town Hall were very useful for her and the community, and that she hopes they are held every few months.
"But the most important part was about the child and how to protect your child," Nora said, speaking through an Arabic interpreter.
"Do not allow them to go with the bad person whether they are neighbours or friends. You have the right to keep and look after your kids."
It is a basic human right denied of Nora after she was kidnapped, along with her four children and husband, by ISIS terrorists in 2014.
Nora and her young family had been travelling in their car in northern Iraq when ISIS purposefully crashed into their vehicle, taking the family of six.
She was sexually, physically and psychologically tortured, locked in cages, often moved between houses and once hidden in an underground cellar with no sunlight.
Her children were regularly taken from her. She never saw her husband again.
On her wrists remain scars of chains that the invisible pain of psychological torture can not show.
Among other injuries, she has recurring head pain from the vehicle crash.
Nora and her four children managed to escape ISIS. They arrived in Australia in 2018.
"When I met up with my kids I felt safe, and then when we came to Australia we felt supported and felt like we were in a good place," Nora said.
And despite all she has been through, she is a dedicated mother who today feels supported by the entire Ezidi community and others around her, and protected by local and state police.
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