Domestic violence complainants and other vulnerable witnesses will be empowered to give their best evidence in court thanks to a new safe room and remote witness room to be built at Dubbo and Mudgee courthouses.
Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said the projects were being delivered as part of a $9 million Commonwealth COVID-19 stimulus funding package.
The upgrades include:
- Dubbo Courthouse – a new safe room, a new remote witness room, state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, a kitchenette and secure access doors; and
- Mudgee Courthouse – a new safe room, a new remote witness room, state-of-the-art audio-visual link equipment, air conditioning, bathroom upgrade and secure access doors.
The works are in addition to a $27.9 million investment announced by the NSW Government last month to create a Drug Court at Dubbo, following a $3.6 million upgrade to the courthouse.
“It is heartening to see our region benefit from this investment, which will help vulnerable people feel safer when coming to court,” Mr Saunders said.
“These new facilities will give witnesses private and secure areas to prepare for court, to therefore be empowered to give their best evidence.”
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,” Mr 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.”
The contracts for works at Dubbo and Mudgee courthouses have been awarded to Intrec Management Pty Ltd. Start dates are currently being finalised and the stimulus projects will be completed by the end of the year.