Domestic violence complainants and other vulnerable witnesses will be empowered to give their evidence in court thanks to upgrades of the safe rooms at Goulburn and Moss Vale courthouses.
Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said the projects were being delivered as part of a $9 million Commonwealth COVID-19 stimulus funding package. The upgrades include:
• Goulburn Courthouse – an upgraded safe room, improved lighting, a new television, upgraded kitchenette facilities, acoustic works and secure access doors; and
• Moss Vale Courthouse – an upgraded safe room, acoustic works and secure access doors.
“These facilities will give witnesses improved, private and secure areas to prepare for court which will help our most vulnerable feel very safe in the court environment,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
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.
“These investments are 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 works will also include upgrades of essential safety features, funded from the NSW Government’s $100 million Sustaining Critical Infrastructure Program, announced in the November 2020 budget.
The contracts for works at Goulburn and Moss Vale courthouses have been awarded to CBC Facilities Maintenance Pty Ltd. Start dates are currently being finalised and the stimulus projects will be completed by the end of the year.