Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Court

A specialist domestic and family violence (DFV) court is located in Southport, dealing exclusively with all civil and criminal DFV matters.

Beenleigh, Townsville, Mount Isa and Palm Island will also see specialist DFV court approaches established over 2017 to 2020.

Beenleigh and Townsville specialist DFV courts will commence handling civil DFV matters in 2017-18, with Townsville, Mount Isa and Palm Island offering a culturally responsive approach for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander court users. A specialist DFV magistrate from Townsville will circuit to Mount Isa and Palm Island.

The specialist DFV court in Beenleigh will grow to manage all civil and criminal DFV matters after a major refurbishment to the courthouse, including a second dedicated DFV courtroom, safety precinct for women aggrieved, a specialist court registry and extra meeting rooms. A renovation to the Townsville courthouse will also take place to provide a new DFV courtroom, additional meeting rooms and a safe room for women.

Specialist DFV courts offer

  • a dedicated magistrate with expertise in DFV issues
  • a Department of Justice and Attorney-General court coordinator to oversee court operations, including stakeholder engagement
  • a specialist DFV court registry where specialist court staff offer support and information
  • dedicated prosecutors
  • duty lawyers to provide advice and representation for both parties
  • court support workers for the aggrieved
  • support/liaison workers for the respondents
  • access to domestic and family violence perpetrator programs
  • specialist DFV registry training.

Specialist court trial

The Specialist DFV Court at Southport became Queensland’s first permanent specialist DFV court after a trial period of almost two years, commencing 1 September 2015.

The trial incorporated elements of other successful Australian and international specialist court models.

The outcomes of the trial informed the establishment of future work in developing a specialist approach to the way DFV proceedings are dealt with the courts across Queensland, including the establishment of specialist DFV courts in Townsville and Beenleigh.

Read the Interim evaluation of the trial specialist domestic and family violence court in Southport (PDF, 1.1 MB).

Read the Final evaluation of the trial specialist domestic and family violence court in Southport (PDF, 5.1 MB).

The following video explains more about the integrated services and specialist approach during the DFV court’s trial period at Southport