Renovated Court officially opened

Published Thursday, 19 October, 2017 at 02:58 PM

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

The Palaszczuk Government’s domestic and family violence reforms reached a major milestone today with the official opening of Southport’s permanent specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court.   

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the $2.69 million renovation had transformed the court into a purpose-built facility. 

“The specialist court has a new dedicated registry counter for enquiries and filing DFV court applications and the courtrooms have secure entry,” Mrs D’Ath said. 

“There are now video conferencing facilities for female victims too fearful to attend court in person and witnesses.

“And there’s a quiet room for distressed women, a secure children’s play area, improved meeting room facilities for men and their legal and support services, and a waiting lounge area.   

“The upgrade also includes new sound-proofed meeting rooms so parties can meet their duty lawyers and support services confidentially.” 

Mrs D’Ath said funding to upgrade Southport courthouse was in addition to the $69.5 million the Palaszczuk Government had allocated to domestic and family violence courts in the 2017-18 State Budget. 

“This significant investment over four years has allowed the Southport trial court to become permanent and will deliver a specialist domestic and family violence court approach in Beenleigh and Townsville, with circuits to Mount Isa and Palm Island,” she said. 

Mrs D’Ath said Southport’s specialist DFV court had dealt with more than 12,000 matters since the trial began in September 2015.  

“This is why the Palaszczuk Government funded it on a permanent basis, and why last week we announced two extra specialist magistrates for the Southport DFV Court – Clare Kelly and Louise Shepherd. 

Mrs D’Ath said the roll out of the extra DFV Court locations was underway. 

“The staged implementation in Beenleigh will see the court hear civil matters, such as domestic violence order applications, this financial year. 

“By 2019-20, the court will deal with both civil and criminal domestic and family violence matters, including contested hearings and trials. 

“And we’ve just appointed Stephen Courtney as the Townsville Domestic and Family Violence Court Magistrate, and he’ll also preside over circuit courts at Mount Isa and Palm Island.” 

“We are committed to tackling domestic and family violence as a government, and as a community, and will continue to provide the frontline services and support victims need,” Mrs D’Ath said.


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