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Cairns to get specialist domestic and family violence court

Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman has announced funding for the establishment of a specialist domestic and family violence (DFV) court in Cairns.

user iconJess Feyder 11 July 2022 The Bar
Cairns to get specialist domestic and family violence court
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The Queensland government has committed $13.4 million, to be rolled out over four years, for a new specialist court that will deal exclusively with DFV matters.

The specialist court promises to make things easier for vulnerable Queenslanders navigating the criminal justice system. 

It seeks to ensure “that victims attending court are confident that the experience won’t further traumatise them,” said Minister Fentiman.


“It means women are supported through the legal system, instead of getting lost in it.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy echoed her sentiment: “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 specialist DFV court is needed to deal with the high volume of DFV matters arising in Cairns Courthouse – it is already one of the busiest magistrates’ courts in Queensland.

“In 2020-21, the court dealt with more than 1,200 applications for domestic violence orders and more than 1,400 charges of contravening a domestic violence order,” said Craig Crawford, member for Barron River. 

The design and operation of the Cairns Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court will be informed by the operations of existing specialist courts, like the ones in Southport, Beenleigh, Townsville, Mount Isa and Palm Island.

The court will have dedicated magistrates, specialised duty lawyers and prosecutors, as well as a skilled registry and a range of support services.

“An independent evaluation of the Southport Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court found this model is proving extremely successful,” said Minister Fentiman.

“The Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce’s Hear Her Voice report supported the model, recommending an expansion of the program.”