Safe spaces and modern facilities to help empower domestic and sexual violence survivors and other vulnerable witnesses to give their best evidence in court have been upgraded at the Young Courthouse.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the project would help ensure witnesses felt more secure when attending court.
“The NSW Government is committed to supporting victim-survivors if they choose to report to police, and it is good to know that these facilities are available to support them and help alleviate the trauma of coming to court,” Ms Cooke said.
Young Courthouse has seen upgrades to their remote witness room, their safe room along with secure access doors.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said the now completed works utilised $9 million of COVID-19 stimulus funding from the previous federal government to deliver new or upgraded safe rooms and remote witness rooms in metropolitan and regional courthouses.
“Under the NSW Government’s domestic violence reforms, complainants in domestic violence criminal proceedings and related apprehended domestic violence order proceedings have a prima facie entitlement to give evidence remotely via audio visual and in a closed court,” Mr Speakman said.
“These new and upgraded facilities give vulnerable witnesses the private, secure areas they need to prepare for court and to provide evidence.”
Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Natalie Ward said the prospect of having to face an alleged abuser, or their family members, in open court can re-traumatise and exacerbate the stress of having to testify in court.
“This is about further protecting and minimising the trauma of domestic violence victim-survivors,” Mrs Ward said.
“These new safe rooms and remote witness facilities enhance support for the courageous victims who come forward to report abuse. The NSW Government is committed to supporting victim-survivors if they choose to report to police, and it is crucial these facilities are available to support them and help alleviate the trauma of coming to court.”