Courthouses at Gosford, Woy Woy and Wyong will be upgraded to better protect and support domestic violence victim-survivors and other vulnerable witnesses who attend court to give evidence.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said the upgrades are being funded through a $9M COVID-19 stimulus boost.
“The new and improved facilities at the Central Coast’s three courthouses will provide witnesses with private and secure areas to prepare for court and to give their best evidence,” Crouch said.
“Work is beginning immediately, and each upgrade is due to be completed by the end of 2021.
“These three stimulus projects will also support jobs in the construction sector at this critical time.”
Attorney General and Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence, Mark Speakman, said witnesses have commonly been through serious trauma and coming to court can be very stressful.
“This is particularly true for victim-survivors of domestic, family, and sexual violence,” Speakman said.
“These investments are part of our ongoing commitment to support victim-survivors if they choose to report to police, and to help them feel confident in coming to court.”
To better protect victim-survivors, reforms were passed by the NSW Parliament in 2020 which ban self-represented defendants from personally cross-examining complainants in domestic violence criminal proceedings and related apprehended domestic violence order proceedings.
Complainants in these proceedings will also have a prima facie entitlement to give evidence remotely and in a closed court.
Gosford Courthouse will receive upgrades to the existing safe room and remote witness room; new, state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment; a new kitchenette, new furniture; and new secure areas.
Woy Woy Courthouse will also see a new safe room and remote witness room and new audio-visual equipment, along with a new secure access point.
At Wyong there will be an upgraded safe room and a new remote witness room, along with new audio-visual equipment, new secure access to doors and new toilet facilities.
All three courthouses will receive upgrades to essential fire safety features.
Media release, Aug 13
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch