When fleeing family violence, seven days can pass in a flash - speaking with police, searching for accommodation, keeping children in school and more, all the while fearing what could happen with an alleged violent abuser.
Angela, a mother-of-three who lived half an hour from Launceston, experienced this during COVID.
Her partner allegedly attacked her and attempted to strangle her in front of a popular restaurant in the Launceston CBD after a meal with her children, parents and other family on July 11.
Social isolation during COVID: Fears for silent victims of family violence in Tasmania
She said it occurred after two years of coercive control, including verbal and financial abuse, and she decided to flee their home with the children. To cover costs, Angela withdrew more than $11,000 in superannuation.
Then she became aware of the crisis payment through Centrelink, but it was too late. With a seven-day timeframe to apply for the funding which comes from the same stream as those affected by natural disasters, Angela had too many other things to worry about.
Now she's put her support behind a campaign to give family violence victims and children more time to apply for crisis financial support.
The cost of seeking help
The $550-a-fortnight coronavirus supplement was almost literally a lifesaver, Angela says.
In the immediate aftermath of the alleged attack, she used the additional funds to stockpile food, toothpaste, medication and essential items for herself and her children, and to get ahead with bills - but fears what will happen when the amount is reduced to $150 from January.
While her ex-partner temporarily went interstate, she had a small window to pack up her belongings and find somewhere to live.
Angela moved to the state's South to be closer to family, but the rental affordability crisis hit hard.
Fighting Back against family violence:
- Why are Tasmanian women still being murdered by their partners?
- Mary Knowles feared for her life before fleeing to Tasmania
- Family violence laws must look beyond the bruises
- Sign our petition to help bring down a barrier for family violence victims
- Domestic abuse is not just about physical violence
- Can Tasmania lead the way in tackling the issue of family violence?
"I can't afford it, I knew I couldn't afford it but I signed the lease and I don't care. I will find a way to pay the rent," she said.
"I can't afford it because our current government is choosing to put me and my children into poverty, and to say it is temporary is beyond insulting to me and my children."
Attempting to move her children to new schools proved difficult. They were rejected by four public schools due to not having a fixed address, before the Education Department was required to find them a place.
On the night of the alleged attack, police attended their house and the man was arrested, issued with a police family violence order and discharged. An interim order remains in place, with the matter to return to court in the new year.
Finding work has also been impossible, with both the COVID crisis and the need for medical appointments for herself and her children limiting Angela's availability.
She said this was a major misconception in the community - that finding a job was easy.
"I have managed businesses in the past; I wouldn't employ me at the moment," Angela said. "I've had a relative turn around to me just this week and say, 'Well, just go and get a job', without seeing any of those barriers that exist even if you take out coronavirus and what we're living through right now."
Fighting for change
Angela said that she was just one of the many women facing similar situations in Australia, and they needed more support.
She told her story to a Parliamentary standing committee on family, domestic and sexual violence earlier this month, via videolink from Tasmania.
"My voice has been taken away and this is me getting my voice back, this is me valuing my strength, this is me being the best mum I can be and this is me showing my children one day when it's appropriate that their mum did everything she could so no other women or children have to go through what we have," Angela told the committee.
A key message was that levels of government support for women fleeing family violence were insufficient.
"I believe anyone going through this is not thinking about contacting Centrelink in seven days," Angela said.
The National Council of Single Mothers and Their Children encouraged Angela to provide evidence to the standing committee after she told her story on an affiliated Facebook page.
The organisation has been urging the government to make it easier for people fleeing family violence to access additional financial support.
NCSMC chief executive officer Terese Edwards said providing real-life experiences was crucial to improving the system.
"Out in the general populace, people want to believe that if a woman - who is caring for children - has income support in these situations. But I've been trying to get the message out there: there actually isn't support," she said.
"That crisis payment is available for anyone facing a particular crisis, not just domestic violence.
"As someone who went through this recently, Angela spoke about how ridiculous the income support system is and how the seven-day timeframe doesn't work. She was incredible."
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor: