A BOOST to Queensland courts is hoped to provide stronger protection for victims and vulnerable witnesses, the State Government announced last week.
An injection of $1.5 million will fund private rooms for victims and closed circuit television in 20 courtrooms across the state, Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Rod Welford said.
It is hoped that the changes, and resulting less traumatic experience for victims and witnesses, will encourage reporting of sexual and physical abuse, said Welford. “By making the court experience less traumatic for victims and witnesses, particularly children, we are likely to see more people reporting sexual and physical abuse,” he said.
Brisbane’s Law Courts Complex will receive a new vulnerable witness suite, costing $400,000. “There will be two evidence-giving rooms linked by closed-circuit television to courtrooms, two waiting rooms, a kitchen, toilet facilities with disabled access, an office and a room for advocacy groups,” Welford said.
Facilities for vulnerable witnesses are also being installed in courthouses at Beaudesert, Bundaberg, Holland Park, Maroochydore, Noosa, Toowoomba, Townsville, Coolangatta, Gatton and Sandgate.