Southport domestic and family violence court trial extended

Published Thursday, 07 January, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

A trial of Queensland’s first dedicated specialist domestic and family violence court at Southport has been extended, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath announced today.

Mrs D’Ath said the Palaszczuk Government is extending the trial of the domestic violence court until June 30, 2017. This is far beyond the six-month period initially proposed.

She said the extension came as a result of a substantial increase in the number of domestic violence applications since the trial began on September 1, last year.

“This increase in applications suggests that people who have experienced domestic and family violence feel more confident in coming forward, which is a great outcome,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“To meet this increased need, Southport now has two specialist magistrates dedicated to hearing domestic and family violence matters.

“We have also increased duty lawyer services and support staff numbers to ensure that people receive the best possible support while navigating the court process.

“We were going to evaluate the six-month trial and use the results to inform a state-wide specialist approach.

“Due to the significant growth in applications in the first few months, it is necessary to extend the trial to allow us adequate time to assess the long-term needs.”

Mrs D’Ath said the trial would be evaluated once it had been operating for a full 12-month period. This will give a better understanding of the outcomes and impacts of the trial and better clarity about where and what to invest in for a state-wide approach.

Mrs D’Ath said that funding had been provided so that the trial could continue to run while the evaluation was considered and a state-wide approach developed.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said the trial was a key feature of the Palaszczuk Government’s strong position against domestic and family violence.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to holding perpetrators of domestic and family violence to account, and ensuring that people who have suffered from domestic violence are offered the protection they need to feel and be safe,” Ms Fentiman said.

“Southport’s specialist courts are an important element of this Government’s work towards implementing the recommendations of the landmark report Not Now, Not Ever, delivered by Dame Quentin Bryce.”

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