NSW law change for domestic violence cases

Gus McCubbing
·1-min read

Self-represented domestic violence defendants will be banned from cross-examining complainants in NSW criminal hearings, under a state government reform.

NSW Attorney-General and Domestic Violence Minister Mark Speakman said the legal amendment, moved in the upper house on Thursday night, would reduce the stress and trauma of giving evidence for victims.

"Attending court is already a highly distressing experience for victim-survivors who've suffered terrible abuse," he said on Friday.

"But it's made worse if you have to endure cross-examination by your abuser in front of a gallery that may also include their family."

The law change will prevent domestic violence complainants being directly examined in chief, cross-examined or re-examined by an unrepresented accused person.

Intermediaries will replace self-represented defendants to question complainants.

The amendment is a new provision in the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 and is expected to be enacted by September, Mr Speakman said in a statement.