Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Court

The Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Court is currently being trialled as part of the Queensland Government's response to the report of the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland, Not now, not ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland.

Located in Southport on the Gold Coast, this specialist court deals exclusively with all civil and criminal domestic and family violence matters.

Note: Domestic violence protection orders can be made on the same day the application is made where circumstances are urgent.

How the trial works

The trial will run from 1 September 2015 to 30 June 2017, and aims to give consistent, coordinated and timely responses to victims and perpetrators involved in domestic and family violence proceedings and related criminal matters.

The trial incorporates elements of other successful Australian and international specialist court models, including:

  • dedicated magistrates
  • dedicated police prosecutors
  • duty lawyers to support both parties
  • access to support, information and referral for victims
  • specialist staff training
  • access to domestic and family violence perpetrator programs.

The trial also provides opportunities for the court to build on existing linkages with the Children’s Court and family law courts.

Also, a key aim of the trial is coordinating court-based stakeholders and strengthening the court’s relationship with the Gold Coast Domestic Violence Integrated Response.

Who is involved?

  • Two dedicated magistrates with expertise in domestic and family violence issues
  • A court coordinator to oversee trial implementation, including stakeholder engagement
  • A specialist domestic and family violence court registry where specialist court staff offer support and information
  • Dedicated prosecutors
  • Duty lawyers to provide advice for both parties
  • Court support workers for the aggrieved
  • Support/liaison workers for the respondents

Additionally, a working group of government stakeholders meets weekly to resolve emerging strategic and operational issues, and an operational working group—comprising Southport court-based stakeholders—meets weekly to discuss operational issues.

After the trial

The outcomes of the trial will inform future work in developing a specialist approach to the way domestic and family violence proceedings are dealt with by the courts across Queensland.

The following video explains how integrated services at the Southport Domestic Violence Court will provide better outcomes.