Special domestic violence courts will be trialled in QLD

A DOMESTIC violence court will be trialled at Southport on the Gold Coast as part of the Queensland Government's $31 million plan to tackle domestic violence.

The announcement today by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman comes in the wake of Australian Regional Media's high-profile Terror At Home campaign, which has lobbied for the introduction of specialist domestic violence courts and mandatory healthy relationships programs in schools.

Ms Palaszczuk accepted a petition with 2500 signatures from ARM in May after the extensive campaign throughout the company's 12 daily and more than 50 non-daily newspapers, including this publication.

The court trial will start in September and reviewed after six months.

Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast director Amy Compton-Keen said the court could face up to 50 domestic violence matters daily.

She said as domestic violence increased, its visibility needed to as well.

Other government initiatives include establishing an independent Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit and $1.1 million to expand the domestic violence duty lawyer service at Legal Aid Queensland.

The government will also establish dedicated 72-hour crisis shelters in Brisbane and Townsville and $3 million in funding for a national campaign to reduce violence against women and their children.

DVConnect chief Diane Mangan said it was very important to find immediate accommodation for women and children suffering from domestic violence.

The announcement was part of the government's response to former Governor-General Quentin Bryce's "Not Now, Not Ever" task force report into domestic and family violence released four months ago.

The report revealed on average 180 domestic violence incidents occur daily across Queensland.

Ms Bryce made 140 recommendations to stem the violence through implementing long-term systemic and cultural change, including the introduction of respectful relationships programs in all schools.

The government has not yet indicated if it will implement this recommendation.

The issue has also come into the national spotlight since domestic violence victim campaigner Rosie Batty was awarded the 2015 Australian of the Year.

If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault or family violence, phone 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800respect.org.au. In an emergency, phone 000.

- APN NEWSDESK



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