The Minns Labor Government will invest $7.5 million to extend and expand two pilot programs helping victim-survivors of domestic violence.
The NSW Government is investing $6.1 million to ensure a specialist DV support worker is available at every local courthouse that hears domestic violence matters.
It is also committing $1.4 million towards a program that embeds specialist support workers within selected police stations.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said:
“We are committed to supporting those most vulnerable in our community, and through this funding we can provide improved and continued access to critical support services,” Mr Minns said.
“These programs are working and they’re working well. I want to ensure they continue and expand to help more victim-survivors of domestic violence.”
Police station co-location pilot ($1.4 million)
The Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) and NSW Police Force Co-location Pilot is being extended for 12 months and expanded to five more locations following a successful pilot.
The pilot commenced in late October 2022 at five locations (Kogarah, Fairfield, Griffith, Armidale and Nowra Police Stations).
The initiative aims to improve the experience of victim-survivors who attend police stations, increase the number of victim-survivors who report to police, and streamline their access to safety and support.
NSW Police will work in consultation with Legal Aid NSW and other government agencies to determine the new locations for the additional five sites.
Attorney-General Michael Daley said:
“Initial feedback from the co-location pilot had been incredibly positive.
“The co-location pilot, which was rolled out at Kogarah, Fairfield, Griffith, Armidale and Nowra Police Stations last year, was due to end in October,” Mr Daley said.
“Today we, as a government, commit to the pilot’s expansion.”
Minister for Police Yasmin Catley said:
“We’ll be talking to stakeholders to target areas with high concentrations of domestic violence reporting and where there has been significant need identified for access to this support,” Ms Catley said.
Local courts co-location pilot ($6.1 million)
The NSW Government investment will ensure a similar program — placing WDVCAS workers at local courts to provide support during court matters— continues and expands statewide.
The initial one-year pilot, due to conclude at the end of October, will be extended for a further 12 months.
From November 1 this year, the Hearing Support Pilot will also operate across every court in the state that hears domestic violence matters.
The initial pilot operated at 73 courts.
This expansion will ensure support workers are available at a further 61 courts.
Hearing Support Workers assist victim-survivors including in situations where:
- An Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is contested in court.
- Matters relating to domestic and family violence criminal charges.
Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jodie Harrison, said:
“Having a specialist WDVCAS worker at local courts provides victim-survivors access to on-site support when they need it.”
“This program can make an important difference for women in crisis,” Ms Harrison said.
“Victim-survivors have access to specially trained workers who can help them navigate the legal system and help with referrals and case management.
“This program is about putting women’s safety first.
“It is about empowering women in crisis with the support they need at what is one of the most challenging times in their life.
“We are proud to be delivering the next phase of this program.”
Legal Aid NSW CEO Monique Hitter said:
“The WDVCASs provide potentially life-saving support to victim-survivors.”
“The WDVCAS fill a crucial gap for women in need, providing wrap-around support to help both address and prevent domestic and family violence,” she said.
WDVCASs are frontline, specialist support services for women experiencing domestic and family violence in NSW.
They provide women with information, safety planning, referrals, case management and support through the court process.
Legal Aid NSW administers grant funding from the NSW Government for the services through contracts with incorporated, local, non-government organisations, known as WDVCAS providers.
New local courts:
|Local Courts covered
|Central North West
|Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Bourke, Brewarrina, Cobar, Nyngan
|Orange, Parkes, Forbes, Cowra, Lake Cargelligo, Bathurst, Lithgow, Oberon, Peak Hill, Blayney, Condobolin
|Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Bellingen, Maclean
|Wollongong, Port Kembla, Albion Park, Kiama
|Campbelltown, Camden, Picton
|Albury, Deniliquin, Holbrook, Corowa, Finley
|Griffith, Leeton, Hillston, Hay, Narrandera, West Wyalong
|Penrith, Katoomba, Windsor
|Armidale, Glen Innes, Moree, Inverell, Mungindi, Boggabilla, Warialda, Tenterfield
|Nowra, Milton, Batemans Bay, Moruya, Narooma, Bega, Eden
Premier of New South Wales
Minister for Women
Minister for Seniors
Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Minister for Police and Counter-Terrorism