04 Mar Chronicle Counsel: SAFE ROOMS UPGRADES AT CENTRAL COAST COURTHOUSES
Preparing for court can be traumatic. Thanks to Commonwealth funding, there have been safe rooms upgrades at Central Coast courthouses for vulnerable witnesses will have private, secure areas to prepare and provide testimony, to help ease some of that trauma.
New facilities to help empower domestic violence complainants and other vulnerable witnesses to give their best evidence in court have been installed at Gosford, Woy Woy and Wyong courthouses.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast Adam Crouch said the projects were delivered as part of a $9 million Commonwealth COVID-19 stimulus funding package.
“These upgraded facilities will give vulnerable witnesses private, secure areas to prepare for court and to provide testimony, therefore enabling them to give their best evidence during proceedings,” Mr Crouch said.
“Having to potentially face your abuser, or their family members, in open court can clearly exacerbate the stress of coming to testify, which is why these safe and remote facilities are so valuable.
“It is really heartening to see our region benefit from these critical upgraded amenities that will enhance support for courageous domestic violence victim-survivors who come forward to report abuse.”
Attorney General and Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Mark Speakman said these facilities meant vulnerable people would feel safer when coming to court.
“Victim-survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence have commonly been through serious trauma and coming to court can be an understandably stressful experience,” Mr Speakman said.
“Our government is committed to supporting victim-survivors if they choose to report to police, and we want them to know that these discrete facilities are available to support them and to help alleviate the trauma of testifying when they come to court.”
As part of a suite of reforms passed last November, complainants in domestic violence criminal proceedings and related apprehended domestic violence order proceedings now have a prima facie entitlement to give evidence remotely via AVL and in a closed court.
These n safe rooms upgrades at Central Coast courthouses will go a long way to help our community.
For confidential advice, support and referrals, contact: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), The NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 65 64 63), NSW Rape Crisis (1800 424 017) or Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491). In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).