Psychological counselling is a crucial part of the recovery process for a survivor of domestic violence.
And yet despite the trauma of what they had escaped, it could be the absolute last of their concerns.
Yes, Women's Centre counsellor Rachel Seath said, counselling was "really important. But, and there's a big 'but' there, women have to be at a stage where they're ready to do that.
"What we're really lacking in Albury and what is more needed in the initial stages of family violence is case management."
Without that, even with some assistance, they had to do much of the running around themselves - for housing, for Centrelink, for moving their kids to another school.
"You talk so many times to so many people, and re-telling the stories, so the risk is always of re-victimising yourself."
They sit there and tell their story and wonder 'is this person believing me?'. And sometimes when the abuse isn't physical and so there's no bruises there, the women feel really, really judgedCounsellor Rachel Seath
Ms Seath said a woman who had just left, or was in the process of leaving, a family violence situation often was not at a stage where she wanted to sit down and talk about her emotions.
"What they want to know is that they're safe, that their kids are safe, where they're going to live, get the belongings, how the property settlement can be done. It's a whole big thing."
That meant many women were not ready to tackle straight away the psychological impact of the violence inflicted on them. Their basic needs had to be met first.
Women sometimes had to move a considerable distance to escape the reach of the perpetrator, so this meant their children would have to change schools.
"Some of them are being referred by other organisations and they will come along to counselling. But when I talk to them, that's what they want sorted."
Going through this process, Ms Seath said, could "take a toll on the women, and the whole family in general".
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Gateway Health chief executive Leigh Rhode pointed to women's need to bring about some degree of normality.
"Counselling is one thing, but there is more to rebuilding your life than the emotional effects of it," she said.
"How do you do that if you've not been in the workforce, if you've incurred a whole lot of debt as a consequence or you're homeless? We do hear about women and children sleeping in their cars.
"And so how do you re-establish yourself with a job, with housing?"
Access to counselling at Women's Health had been under significant pressure in recent times.
Up until late in 2018, those wishing to access it - for women, as well as their children - had faced an up to five-month wait for psychological counselling.
That led to a concerted effort to reduce waiting times, largely through the introduction of group counselling sessions.
This meant it might now take between four and six weeks for those still suffering the effects of violence.
Women and children at "serious threat" were now being seen within a couple of weeks.
The effectiveness of the group approach wasn't just down to the formal part of the day. When the women broke for lunch, they got to share their experiences in a more relaxed way.
"You notice that feeling of 'I'm not alone and I don't have to hide this anymore; I can cry here if I want to and I won't feel silly'," Ms Seath said.
"One of the reasons why the numbers of women who have been waiting has been reduced is because they are going into the group programs."
Some would feel their issues resolved after the group sessions, while others returned later for some individual counselling.
"But some of them just get so much out of they just think 'no, I'm OK'."
- Emergency: 000
- DV Hotline: 1800 656 463
- Safe Steps: 1800 015 188
- Betty's Place Women's Refuge: 02 6058 6200 or 1900 885 355
- DV counselling: 1800 737 732
- Kids' Helpine: 1800 789 978
- MensLine: 1300 789 978
The centre's decision to implement the group counselling approach though was somewhat symptomatic of the fragmented approach to domestic and family violence in Albury.
That's because the program was instigated and developed by the centre as, Ms Seath said, there were no resources "and very limited services" available.
"I guess in a way it is up to the individual organisations, the service providers, to come up with more creative ways of how to see some of these women."
Another significant impediment for many was the stigma they felt was strongly attached to domestic and family violence.
They often felt that most people had no idea of what was going on in their lives.
"They sit there and tell their story and wonder 'is this person believing me?'.
"And sometimes when the abuse isn't physical and so there's no bruises there, the women feel really, really judged, even by police who don't mean to do it."
Not all women who indicated they might want counselling once they had attended to other more pressing issues returned for sessions.
But someone might get a year down the track, Ms Seath said, and think: "I'm just not feeling the way I should be feeling because I'm no longer with this person. I'm feeling safe now, but there's still something going on."
The process might be the first time they identified their experience as violence.
"They see what they've gone through on a daily basis and yet they still run a household, still look after children," Ms Seath said.
"They've actually been really amazing women."
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