27 September 2023

Specialist Family Violence Court now in session

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The Attorney-General and the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence have officially opened the State’s second dedicated Specialist Family Violence Court, a building designed to give victims greater protections during court proceedings.

Attorney-General, Jill Hennessy said the Ballarat building was equipped with a separate court entrance and a safe waiting space with amenities for applicants and their children.

“In collaboration with McAuley Community Service for Women, a specialist worker will be located on-site to engage with children,” Ms Hennessy said.

“Enabling victim survivors to focus on court proceedings while also ensuring children are not further traumatised by the experience of being at court,” she said.

“A large multi-disciplinary team of specially trained magistrates, operational staff, family violence practitioners, partner agencies and other court-based services will work together.”

Ms Hennessy said the court’s operating model would be supported by enhanced family violence services and the expansion of court-mandated men’s behavioural change programs.

She said the court would also provide a culturally appropriate response for Aboriginal families living with family violence.

The Minister, Gabrielle Williams said the court reforms were a key recommendation of the Royal Commission.

Ms Williams said the Ballarat complex was the second of five funded specialist courts, with facilities at Moorabbin, Frankston and Heidelberg set to open within the next 12 months.

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