Upgraded facilities to help empower domestic violence complainants and other vulnerable witnesses to give their best evidence in court have been installed at the Tweed Heads Courthouse.

Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest said the projects were delivered as part of a $9 million Commonwealth COVID-19 stimulus funding package and delivered an upgrade of the existing remote witness room and an upgraded and more secure safe room.

“These new facilities will give vulnerable witnesses private, secure areas to prepare for court and to provide testimony, therefore enabling them to give their best evidence during proceedings,” Mr Provest said.

“Having to potentially face your abuser, or their family members, in open court can clearly exacerbate the stress of coming to testify, which is why these safe and remote facilities are so valuable.

“It is really heartening to see our region benefit from these critical upgraded amenities that will enhance support for courageous domestic violence victim-survivors who come forward to report abuse.”

Attorney General Mark Speakman said these facilities meant vulnerable people would feel safer when coming to court.

“Victim-survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence have commonly been through serious trauma and coming to court can be an understandably stressful experience,” Mr Speakman said.

Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Natalie Ward said the new facilities will help support victim-survivors who courageously come forward to tell their story.

“Our government is committed to supporting victim-survivors if they choose to report to police, and we want them to know that these discrete facilities are available to support them and to help alleviate the trauma of testifying when they come to court,” Ms Ward said.

As part of a suite of reforms passed by the NSW Government, complainants in domestic violence criminal proceedings and related apprehended domestic violence order proceedings now have a prima facie entitlement to give evidence remotely via AVL and in a closed court.

For confidential advice, support and referrals, contact: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).