Queensland’s busiest court – Brisbane Magistrates Court – has been announced as the state’s seventh site for a specialist domestic and family violence (DFV) court.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said Brisbane was Queensland’s most active court and regularly dealt with a high volume of DFV matters.
Ms Fentiman said the Queensland Government had committed $13.4 million over four years to roll-out new specialist courts across the state to deal exclusively with DFV matters.
In 2020-21, the Brisbane Magistrates court handled almost 1900 applications for DFV orders and more than 2200 charges of contravening an order.
The Gold Coast became the site of the state’s permanent first specialist DFV court in 2017 – after a successful two-year trial at Southport. Since then, specialist DFV courts have been established at Beenleigh, Townsville, Mount Isa and Palm Island.
Ms Fentiman on Saturday night said the design and operation of the Brisbane Specialist DFV Domestic and Family Violence Court would be informed by the operations of existing specialist courts, particularly Queensland’s DFV court at Southport.
The announcement comes almost two weeks after Cairns was announced as the state’s sixth regional centre to receive a specialist court.
“This model ensures victims attending court can have confidence the experience won’t further traumatise them,” Ms Fentiman said over the weekend. “It means people who experience DFV are supported through the legal system, instead of getting lost in it.”
She said additional funding had been earmarked to upgrade the Brisbane Courthouse to improve victim safety and ensure facilities were modern and functional.
“Specialist courts are shown to be effective in prioritising the safety of victims, holding perpetrators accountable and working to promote changes in attitudes and behaviour.
“The Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce’s Hear Her Voice report one supported the model, recommending an expansion of the program.
“The measures include dedicated magistrates, specialised duty lawyers and prosecutors, as well as a skilled registry, and a range of support services which are located on site.”