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									         Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012
        Provisions for witnesses in domestic violence proceedings

   To protect vulnerable witnesses the Act includes placing a positive obligation on the court to consider
    putting in place special arrangements when the aggrieved, child or another person who can be
    protected by a domestic violence order is giving evidence. These measures can be considered to
    reduce the stress or trauma that the witness might otherwise experience.

   The safeguards the court might use include:

         giving evidence from another location by a video-link

         a screen or one-way glass being placed so the witness can not see the respondent while giving
          evidence

         a person approved by the court providing emotional support to the witness in the courtroom

         ensuring that where the witness has a physical or mental disability they can give evidence in a
          way that will minimise the witness’s distress.

   The court will also have the ability to make any other arrangements it considers appropriate.

   The Act also restricts the ability of a self-represented respondent to cross-examine the aggrieved, a child
    or a named person. Factors are outlined for the court to take into account when considering whether to
    order that the respondent not cross-examine the witness in person. The factors are that the cross-
    examination is likely to cause the witness to suffer emotional harm or distress, or that the witness will be
    so intimidated that he or she will be disadvantaged as a witness.

   If the witness is a child, the court must make an order that the respondent not cross-examine the witness
    in person.

   If a court makes an order under these provisions, the court must require the respondent to advise the
    court by a stated date or time whether he or she has arranged for a lawyer to act for them, or whether he
    or she has decided not to cross-examine the witness.




Date: 07/2012
Page 1

								
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