Victoria’s first Specialist Family Violence Court is now open in Shepparton, delivering a key project in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission and representing the Andrews Labor Government’s ongoing investment in responding to family violence.
Attorney-General Jill Hennessy visited Shepparton today to officially open the purpose-built building, which includes separate court entrances and a safe waiting space with amenities for applicants and their children, helping to support people living with family violence.
A large 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 introduction of a court-mandated counselling program to help improve the reach and impact of men’s behaviour change programs.
Additionally, the court will provide a culturally appropriate response for Aboriginal families living with family violence, recognising the devastating impact family violence has on the Aboriginal community.
The Labor Government has invested $130 million towards the establishment of the Specialist Family Violence Court Division after recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The Shepparton facility is the first of five Specialist Family Violence Courts opening across the state, with courts at Ballarat, Moorabbin, Frankston and Heidelberg set to be operational 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.
More than half of the 227 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence have now been implemented.
As noted by Attorney-General Jill Hennessy
“The establishment of a dedicated family violence court in Shepparton will transform the way the court approaches family violence matters.”
“We don’t want to extend the trauma that victim survivors of family violence have to endure. That’s why we’re delivering court infrastructure that supports their ability to access justice without fear.”
As noted by 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 and hold perpetrators to account.”