Expanding Victoria’s Dedicated Family Violence Courts

The Andrews Labor Government is delivering on a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence through the creation of a dedicated Specialist Family Violence Court in Ballarat.

Attorney-General Jill Hennessy and Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams visited Ballarat today to officially open the state-of-the art building, with a separate court entrance and a safe waiting space with amenities for applicants and their children, helping to support people living with family violence.

In collaboration with McAuley Community Service for Women, a specialist worker will be located on-site to engage with children, enabling victim survivors to focus on court proceedings while also ensuring children are not further traumatised by the experience of being at court.

A large multi-disciplinary team of specially trained magistrates, operational staff, family violence practitioners, partner agencies and other court-based services will work together to deliver a coordinated response.

The court’s operating model will be supported by enhanced family violence services for families and the expansion of court-mandated men’s behaviour change programs.

Additionally, the court will provide a culturally appropriate response for Aboriginal families living with family violence, recognising the significant impact family violence has on the Aboriginal community.

The Labor Government has committed $130 million to support court reforms recommended by the Royal Commission, including the establishment of Specialist Family Violence Courts.

The Ballarat complex is the second of five funded specialist courts following the opening of the Shepparton court in October, with facilities at Moorabbin, Frankston and Heidelberg set to open within the next 12 months.

The government has invested more than $2.9 billion towards implementing recommendations from the Royal Commission, aimed at ending family violence, supporting victims and extending legal services across the state.

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Jill Hennessy

“The opening of a dedicated family violence court in Ballarat is about ensuring victim-survivors of family violence feel safe when they access the justice system.”

“We know the devastating impact family violence has on regional communities – that’s why we’re building the infrastructure our courts need.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams

“This was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission and will ensure people who have lived through family violence feel safe and supported as they go through the court system, while perpetrators are held to account.”

Quote attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle

“Victoria’s second dedicated Specialist Family Violence Court – here in Ballarat – is an important step in our work to stamp out the scourge of family violence and help victim-survivors.”

Quote attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison

“We’re implementing every single one of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence which will make a big difference in our community.”