New family violence court division opening in shepparton
The Shepparton Magistrates’ Court has opened a new Family Violence Court Division today to give communities access to more modern court facilities and better access to justice. The new division will provide specialist support services and include a new counselling order program.
The court’s mandated counselling order program will allow specialist family violence magistrates to order male perpetrators of family violence to attend men’s behaviour change programs. This will contribute to improving the safety of families living with violence by ensuring perpetrators change their behaviours and thereby reduce the risk they present to their families.
The new division will feature specially trained applicant and respondent practitioners to assist those impacted by family violence with court support and appropriate referral pathways. This will promote the safety of victims and increase accountability of those who have used violence against family members.
In addition to specialist services, there are also a number of security upgrades with separate and secure waiting spaces for victims of family violence and a dedicated security presence. These arrangements will significantly improve the safety of affected family members attending court. This partially acquits recommendation 70 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Shepparton Magistrates’ Court has undergone significant change. Stage 1 building works were completed in April 2018 which delivered a new multi-jurisdictional court house to the region. This accommodates hearings of the Supreme, County, Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts, in addition to hearings of the Coroners Court and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Stage 2 works, including the redevelopment of the 1930s courthouse, has commenced and is scheduled to be completed by next year. Under the refurbishment, the 1930s courthouse will be transformed to support a Specialist Family Violence Court Division.
Quotes attributable to Magistrate Stuthridge
“The new Family Violence Court Division will transform the way people in the area access justice services for those affected by family violence. This will mean increased access to services and legal protection for those who are attending our court.”
“The upgrades provide the Hume and Goulburn regions with the most contemporary court building in the state, which is purpose-built to accommodate the needs and experiences of vulnerable witnesses and victims.”