Domestic violence survivors in NSW will be able to give evidence in closed courts or remotely via an audio-visual link, under proposed government reforms.
Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the measures would be introduced into NSW Parliament this week.
The changes are in line with similar court arrangements for vulnerable witnesses, including children, sexual offence victims and those who are cognitively impaired.
“Expecting them to give evidence in front of a public gallery, which may include the defendant’s friends and family, can be intimidating and add to the trauma of the court process,” Mr Speakman said in a statement on Wednesday.
Currently, domestic violence complainants can only give evidence remotely after a successful application to the court.
A new jury direction will state that delayed reporting by a domestic violence complainant should not be viewed as evidence suggesting the allegation is false.
“Domestic violence is a complex crime due to the intimate nature of the relationships between victims and perpetrators,” Mr Speakman said.
“When you’re abused by someone who claims to love you, you have children together, you own property together and you’re terrified of retribution – that’s a very different story.”
If you or someone you know is impacted by family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. The Men’s Referral Service provides advice for men on domestic violence and can be contacted on 1300 766 491. In an emergency, call 000.