Government welcomes Southport specialist DFV Court evaluation report
Published Friday, 17 June, 2022 at 10:10 AM
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
The state’s first permanent Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court at Southport is supporting vulnerable Queenslanders, following a key independent evaluation.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said the report’s findings were very encouraging.
“Since being made permanent in 2017 following a successful trial, the Southport Specialist Court has supported thousands of Queenslanders affected by domestic violence through the justice system,” Minister Fentiman said.
“These measures mean victims attending court can have confidence the experience won’t further traumatise them.”
“Over the evaluation period from 1 July 2017 to 31 March 2020, more than 10,600 applications were lodged relating to more 13,000 individuals, making it one of Queensland’s busiest Magistrates Courts.
“After an examination of its operations, this evaluation concluded the court is proving extremely successful.
“It is delivering a coordinated, respectful, and fair system, which prioritises the safety of the victim and their children, holds perpetrators accountable, and promotes changes in attitudes and behaviour.
“During the evaluation period the court made 722 intervention orders – this is where the court requires the perpetrator to attend a program to address their behaviour.
“The evaluation found that offenders complied with 89 per cent of DVOs, and there was some evidence that those who did breach their DVO complied with the order for a longer period of time if they went through the specialist DFV Court.”
The Attorney-General said the domestic and family violence court model is comprised of a range of trained staff including dedicated magistrates, a specialist registry, and support services.
“It is very clear from the report that the various agencies working together is making a big difference, by connecting people with support services before, during, and after their matter has been heard in court,” she said.
“Unlike other Magistrates Courts, support services are located on site, making it easier for victims to access the help they need.
“The report suggests this support is making people seeking a domestic violence order feel safer, and more confident dealing with the criminal justice system.
“Interviews and surveys with court clients also showed they felt more secure during the process, with the vast majority of participants noting the safe room allowed them to avoid crossing paths with their perpetrator.”
Minister Fentiman said the evaluation report included seven recommendations for the Department of Justice and Attorney-General to consider to further expand and improve Specialist DFV Courts in Queensland.
“The Government will consider these recommendations as we strengthen the operations of Southport’s specialist response and improve other Queensland courts,” she said.
“Many of its recommendations intersect with recommendations of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.”
In addition to Southport, Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Courts currently operate in Beenleigh, Townsville, Mount Isa and Palm Island.
READ: The report can be found here:
VISION: Overlay of the Southport Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court can be found here.
Media contact: Clare Barnes 0497 829 747