Support person in court

Australian research has shown that victims participating in domestic and family violence related proceedings value having a support person accompany them in the courtroom and court precinct. The protections afforded by a support person are set out in various state bench books, and are similar to those available to vulnerable witnesses in some jurisdictions. These protections reflect recent inquiry findings highlighting the difficulties victims experience navigating the court system without support and the benefits of making a range of specialised court services available to victims.

Women victims who are supported report feeling less vulnerable in the courtroom, safer in the court precinct, better able to understand and deal with the court process, and that their experience of domestic and family violence has been recognised and validated. A significant aspect of victims’ fears relates to their experience of violence and the prospect of ongoing contact with the perpetrator in the court context.