Legal Aid granted $18.6 million to protect DFV victims

Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) is to receive $18.6 million over the next four years to ensure that victims of domestic and family violence (DFV) are not further victimised by perpetrators in court.

Attorney-General and DFV Prevention Minister Shannon Fentiman on Friday said LAQ would receive the additional funding to support additional legal representation so witnesses are cross-examined by a trained lawyer, rather than defendants – alleged perpetrators.

A statement released by the Government said: “This follows amendments introduced into Parliament last year to the Evidence Act that will make victims of domestic violence offences protected witnesses.”

“Protected witnesses cannot be cross-examined by an unrepresented defendant.

“An accused person who refuses legal assistance to cross-examine a protected witness cannot personally conduct the cross-examination.

“The Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce found that perpetrators may use the court process to continue to harm or intimidate their victims.”


Ms Fentiman, in her statement, said: “We know it can be extremely traumatic for victims of DFV to give evidence in court, and that the prospect of being cross-examined by a perpetrator may be so frightening that victims may not be able to give their best evidence, or not give it at all.”

“This was a recommendation from the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, and I am proud that this government has taken its recommendations so seriously.”

“Together with the proposed amendments to the Evidence Act, this $18.6 million will ensure that the courts’ processes cannot be used to inflict further suffering upon those who need the courts’ protection.”

On Friday, the Government also released a statement saying a pilot program allowing use of police-captured video statements as evidence in DFV cases, at Southport and Ipswich Magistrates Court, was proving successful.

“Amendments to the Evidence Act in 2022 allowed for a pilot of the use of police-captured video statements as evidence-in-chief in domestic and family violence-related criminal proceedings,” the statement reads.

“The pilot framework includes a range of safeguards designed to limit the trauma and protect the privacy of survivors who give evidence in proceedings through police-captured camera footage.


“Southport Magistrates Court and Ipswich Magistrates Court have been piloting the use of police captured video statements since September 2022.

“Since the pilot began video-recorded evidence has been used in 157 domestic violence-related matters across both pilot locations (Southport and Ipswich).”

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One Response

  1. Great idea – it reflects the section 102NA Federal Court scheme. The problem is that it is not means tested and rich people benefit from lawyers who are prepared to act for the cheaper LAQ rates. LAQ rates need to increase markedly!!

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