Witness Room Upgrades at Young Courthouse

Domestic violence complainants and other vulnerable witnesses will be empowered to give their best evidence in court thanks to upgrades at Young Courthouse.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the project, part of $9 million in COVID-19 Commonwealth stimulus funding will fully enclose the remote witness room and add acoustic treatments to the walls. The refurbished safe room will include new furniture and flooring, a kitchenette and secure access doors.

“It is heartening to see our region benefit from this investment, which will help vulnerable people feel safer to come to court,” Ms Cooke said.

“These upgrades will give witnesses better private and secure areas to prepare for court and to give their best evidence.”

Attorney General and Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Mark Speakman said witnesses have commonly been through serious trauma and coming to court can be very stressful.

“This is particularly true for victim-survivors of domestic, family, and sexual violence,” Mr Speakman said.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to support victim-survivors if they choose to report to police, and to help them feel confident in coming to court.” 

Later this year, self-represented defendants will be banned from personally cross examining complainants in domestic violence criminal proceedings and related apprehended domestic violence order proceedings, under new laws passed last November.

As part of the same reforms, complainants in these proceedings also now have a prima facie entitlement to give evidence remotely via audio-visual link and in a closed court. The contract has been awarded to Intrec Management Pty Ltd. Start dates are currently being finalised and the stimulus project will be completed by the end of the year.