Victims of domestic violence will no longer have to front up at court to give evidence in New South Wales.
The State government has cleared the way for victims to provide evidence via a pre-recorded video statement, introducing changes to the Criminal Procedure Act today.
Pru Goward, Minister for Women, said the changes will reduce the stress and trauma many victims endure when giving evidence in court.
“Allowing video-recorded statements to stand as evidence in chief in court will empower traumatised and vulnerable domestic and family violence victims,” Goward said.
“Relying on a video-recorded statement reduces the possibility of the perpetrator intimidating the victim by trying to coerce them into withdrawing or changing their original version of events.”
The new system will work by taping a victim’s statement shortly after an incident.
Attorney General Brad Hazzard said the changes will lower the risk of re-traumatisation which court proceedings can trigger.
“This is about empowering victims of domestic and family violence so they have the confidence and security to take part in the criminal justice system,” Hazzard said.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres said increasing the use of video statements would help frontline police better protect and support domestic violence victims.
“This is a change which will help our front-line police ensure statements from victims who have experienced horrific acts of domestic and family violence end up in court,” Ayres said.
Earlier this year it was announced NSW Police would be getting body-mounted cameras under a $4 million program that will record all police interactions with the public.
It’s hoped the project will change the behaviour of potential offenders and provide an independent and accurate recording of events.
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