Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Geelong Specialist Family Violence Court

My question is for the Attorney-General. Recently I became aware that the Geelong Specialist Family Violence Court is expected to be gazetted on 30 September. I am worried about this given the courthouse upgrades have not begun yet. Further, the services that surround the Specialist Family Violence Court, such as legal assistance, have not all been given funding either. The specialist court allows a different list to hear many matters in one hearing to save time and trauma for the victim. This means more legal expertise and time is needed for both sides to prepare. All of this points to the fact that more money is needed for these services. I am not sure how the Specialist Family Violence Court in Geelong can function effectively if the services that underpin it are not adequately funded. Attorney, if the specialist court is opened in six weeks, will you ensure that all legal services that support the specialist court model are adequately funded to handle the additional work?

Thank you, Attorney, for that. I look forward to that meeting. The Specialist Family Violence Court in Geelong begins in just over a month, like I said, but the courthouse upgrades have not yet begun. I have been out to the Ballarat Specialist Family Violence Court and must say that it is a shining example of how a family court should operate both internally and externally, with separate entrances for all parties concerned. I have also had many visits to the Geelong courthouse in my previous life and know the challenges that lie ahead with the infrastructure changes required to the building to ensure the safety of victims. My supplementary question is: Attorney, when will these upgrades to the Geelong courthouse begin, and when are they expected to be completed?


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