Victims and their families given greater Children’s Court access

  • New laws to ensure greater transparency and access in the Children’s Court
  • Courts to open to victims, families of a deceased victim, victim representatives and the media

The Miles Government will this week introduce new laws to Parliament that will enhance victim and media access to Children’s Court.

Under the changes, government will open the Children’s Court to victims, family of victims of homicide, victim representatives and the media.

Currently, media are required to apply to be present in proceedings and that access is at the discretion of the Magistrate.

Importantly, these new laws ensure victims of crime – or the family of victims who have died cannot be excluded from proceedings.

Under the proposed changes, the court will have the powers to exclude the media and victim representatives from the courtroom if it’s necessary to prevent prejudice to the proper administration of justice, or for the safety of any person, including the child.

Victim advocates, legal stakeholders and media were consulted on the amendments.

The laws continue the prohibition on the publication of the child’s identifying information.

Quotes attributable to Premier Steven Miles:

“My government has been listening to victims of crime and their families and has put them at the forefront of our new comprehensive community safety plan.

“Let me be clear. Victims and family of victims of homicide deserve a place in Children’s Court, as do journalists and the media.

“There will always be times the media shouldn’t be allowed in court, but the community should rightly expect that whenever there can be that scrutiny there should be.”

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General, Minster for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Yvette D’Ath:

“These new laws form part of this Government’s ongoing commitment to support victims of crime by enhancing access to Children’s Court Matters.

“Importantly, the laws clarify that the family of victims of homicide can attend Children’s Court, as they should have a seat in the courtroom.

“This legislation will strike the right balance between the interests of the child and the community’s expectations.”

Quotes attributable to QLD Homicide Victims’ Support Group CEO, Brett Thompson:

“Families that we support have consistently expressed how being denied access to court matters relating to the killing of a family member, simply makes things worse.

“This legislative change addresses that issue.

“Victims of homicide have the right to be treated with respect, courtesy, compassion and dignity. This new legislation creates the option for them to be present in court to better understand the situation and acknowledges the importance of these rights.”

/Public Release. View in full here.