Qld govt set to allow DV video statements

·2-min read

Video statements will be allowed as evidence in Queensland domestic violence cases under proposed state government reforms.

The Evidence and Other Legislation Amendment Bill introduced into Queensland parliament on Tuesday includes a proposal that will allow camera footage in domestic violence (DV) proceedings in a bid to reduce the trauma of victims having to re-tell their stories.

Video statements will be allowed to be used as the DV victim's "evidence in chief" as part of a 12-month trial at Southport and Ipswich Magistrates Courts.

Footage will only be recorded by trained police officers - most likely on their body worn cameras - with a complainant's "informed consent".

Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman believed the proposed bill would provide domestic and family violence victims better support during court hearings.

"We know that having to recount a domestic violence incident during a court hearing can be extremely traumatic for the victim," Ms Fentiman said in a statement.

"This can reduce trauma for survivors by avoiding the task of telling their story multiple times and can reduce the opportunity for offenders to intimidate victims.

"While similar measures have been used for several years for some other vulnerable witnesses including children, it is important that evidence can be obtained about the impacts and experiences that are unique to domestic and family violence cases."

She said video statements would be allowed in criminal proceedings for a domestic violence offence, including breaches of DV orders.

"These reforms include a range of safeguards designed to limit the trauma and protect the privacy of victims who provide their evidence under the pilot," Ms Fentiman said.

The proposed bill's trial is a result of the 2015 Not Now, Not Ever report which recommended that the attorney-general implements "alternative evidence procedures for victims of domestic and family violence providing evidence in related criminal matters to reduce the trauma of this experience".

"Consideration should be given to allowing for admissibility of any video recordings made at the time of initial police intervention," the report said.

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