The primary purpose for conducting this research was to fill a gap in the available data about the information and support needs of victims and witnesses in the Magistrates’ Court. Although not a representative sample, the survey results identified a number of issues which are consistent with previous research and shed further light on this important area.
Broadly, the findings indicate that:
- victims and witnesses have little or no knowledge of court processes prior to attending court
- victims and witnesses require information and in some cases support before, during and post court hearing
- victims and witnesses, who were referred to a service, were most frequently referred to court based services such as Court Network and Family Violence Services
- safety at court emerged as a significant issue for respondents
- factors which influenced respondents’ confidence in the court process and sense of procedural fairness included ‘safety at court’, whether they were ‘treated with dignity and respect’ and their prior knowledge of the court process.