32. Specialisation

Recommendation 32–1 State and territory governments, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, should establish or further develop specialised family violence courts within existing courts in their jurisdictions.

Recommendation 32–2 State and territory governments should ensure that specialised family violence courts are able to exercise powers to determine: family violence protection matters; criminal matters related to family violence; and family law matters to the extent that family law jurisdiction is conferred on state and territory courts.

Recommendation 32–3 State and territory governments should ensure that specialised family violence courts have, as a minimum:

(a) specialised judicial officers and prosecutors;

(b) regular training on family violence issues for judicial officers, prosecutors, lawyers and registrars;

(c) victim support, including legal and non-legal services; and

(d) arrangements for victim safety.

Recommendation 32–4 State and territory governments should, where possible, promote the following measures in all courts dealing with family violence matters, including courts in regional and remote communities:

(a) identifying and listing on the same day, protection order matters and criminal proceedings related to family violence, as well as related family law and child protection matters;

(b) training judicial officers in relation to family violence;

(c) providing legal services for victims and defendants;

(d) providing victim support on family violence list days; and

(e) ensuring that facilities and practices secure victim safety at court.

Recommendation 32–5 State and territory police should ensure, at a minimum, that:

(a) specialised family violence and sexual assault police units are fostered and structured to ensure appropriate career progression for officers and the retention of experienced personnel;

(b) all police—including specialised police units—receive regular education and training consistent with the Australasian Policing Strategy on the Prevention and Reduction of Family Violence;

(c) specially trained police have responsibility for supervising, monitoring or assuring the quality of police responses to family violence incidents, and providing advice and guidance in this regard; and

(d) victims have access to a primary contact person within the police, who specialises, and is trained, in family violence, including sexual assault issues.