It was a sad and troubling time for many in Ballarat as the first day of Cardinal George Pell's appeal hearing unfolded in Melbourne.
As lawyers presented arguments, the reverberations were felt among abuse victims and the wider Catholic community.
Shireen Gunn, operations director of the Ballarat branch of Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA), said extra staff were on hand to field an anticipated spike in calls as coverage of the appeal increased.
She said the appeal was likely to have a wide effect on the community. "It's not just survivors of institutional abuse - we find that when high-profile cases come up, the calls that are coming in are across the board."
Calls to the centre increased noticeably when news of Pell's conviction for historical child sexual abuse was reported widely in February following the lifting of a suppression order.
For Ballarat survivor Andrew Collins, the appeal coverage was also a frustrating reminder of a lack of progress and of the power imbalance between victims and offenders.
He said that many were angry over the money spent on the legal process when many survivors did not feel adequately compensated for their suffering.
"George Pell is only a symptom of the problem," he told The Courier.
"Whether the appeal is upheld or dismissed, that doesn't change the problem. There is still a massive problem within the Catholic Church that has not been addressed."
There's a lot of people this is really going to affect. As a community we need to look out for each otherAndrew Collins
"People are still arguing over compensation - we have a redress scheme that is pathetic."
"It is just hard to hear all this stuff going on and on."
He said it was a particularly difficult time for Ballarat victims who never got to have their say in court. "This is twice as hard for them."
He also acknowledged that it was a painful time for Catholics in the city.
"There's a lot of people this is really going to affect," he said. "As a community we need to look out for each other."
Until we've got some idea of where things are headed, there's not much you can say other than 'show care and consideration for each other'Father Kevin Maloney
The Vicar-General of St Patrick's Cathedral Father Kevin Maloney said he was "very aware that it's a troubling time for victims of child sexual abuse."
"Every time there's a court case or reporting it always brings back memories for victims."
He told The Courier that members of the congregation had also been very upset by the process.
"They find the whole thing very disturbing and disheartening," he said.
"Our appeal would be that people listen to the verdict and are sensitive and respectful of the legal process, whatever the verdict.
"Until we've got some idea of where things are headed, there's not much you can say other than 'show care and consideration for each other'."
Mr Collins, meanwhile, said survivors would all have a different way of dealing with the events. "People have got to feel safe. You've got to have a plan."
"I'd also encourage the family and friends of survivors - not just of the church [abuse] - to reach out to those people and see if they're ok and see if they would like to chat."
"Just talk about it," he said. "Don't keep it bottled up inside."
- Anyone affected can phone CASA, Sebastopol on 5320 3933 (9am to 5.30pm, Mon-Fri) or free-call the crisis care line 24 hours on 1800 806 292. Alternatively Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.
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