UPGRADES COMPLETED AT TWO UPPER HUNTER COURTHOUSES
New facilities to help empower domestic violence complainants and other vulnerable witnesses to give their best evidence in court have been installed at Singleton and Muswellbrook courthouses.
Member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell said the projects were delivered as part of a $9 million Commonwealth COVID-19 stimulus funding package.
The upgrades include:
Singleton Courthouse – a new remote witness room, state-of-the-art audio-visual link equipment, new furniture and secure access; and
Muswellbrook Courthouse – an upgraded remote witness room, state-of-the-art audio-visual link equipment, new furniture and secure access.
“These improved 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 Layzell 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 new facilities at Singleton Court and upgraded amenities at Muswellbrook Court 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 attending 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 in November 2020, 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.
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).