NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman has announced there will be extended sitting weeks for Griffith District Court, and Griffith will participate in a pilot program aimed at reducing domestic violence in Aboriginal communities.
Extended court sitting weeks
In an announcement at Griffith District Court on Wednesday afternoon, the Attorney General said there will be four extra sitting weeks in 2017-18 to “reduce the backlog of criminal trials in the region”.
The additional sitting weeks are part of a $59 million investment by the NSW Government over two and a half years to help the District Court improve the way it manages its workload.
Member for Murray Adrian Piccoli, who also at the court for the announcement, said, “the additional sittings weeks will deliver much needed relief for justice services in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area”.
Pilot program to tackle Aboriginal domestic violence
Mr Speakman also announced Griffith will be part of the What’s Your Plan? pilot program.
The program targets Aboriginal defendants on Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs), providing them with the option of meeting with an Aboriginal support officer to work out a plan to change their behaviour.
Defendants who volunteer for What’s Your Plan? will meet with an Aboriginal Client and Community Support Officer to develop a tailored strategy to comply with their ADVO.
They will be offered SMS reminders to help them stay on track and a follow up call to check on progress.
“This is a world-first voluntary project aimed at reducing domestic violence within Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal defendants unfortunately account for a quarter of all breaches of ADVOs, even though Aboriginal people make up only three percent of the NSW population,” Mr Speakman said.
Griffith is to be one of 46 NSW court locations to participate in the program.
Mr Speakman said the service will be evaluated by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, and possibly extended to non-Aboriginal communities if there is evidence the program is changing behaviour in a positive way.
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