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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 2882 asked in the Legislative Council on 2 April 2020 by Hon Alison Xamon

Question Directed to the: Leader of the House representing the Attorney General
Minister responding: Hon J.R. Quigley
Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Question

(1) I refer to Victim Support Services in place in the court systems around Western Australia, and I ask:
(a) for each court location, for each of the last 5 years, could the Minister please provide the following information about victim support services:
(i) is a victim support service in place;
(ii) which organisation, agency or body holds the contract to provide victim support services;
(iii) how many staff are employed by the victim support service;
(iv) how many volunteers are overseen by the victim support service; and
(v) where victim support services exist, could the Minister please clarify if the victim support services cater to:
(A) clients attending court for criminal matters only;
(B) clients attending court for civil matters only; and
(C) clients attending court for either civil or criminal matters;
(b) could the Minister please explain how people who would be eligible for victim support services are made aware that these services exist?
(2) I refer to volunteers in Victim Support Services in place in the court systems around Western Australia and I ask:
(a) does the Department have a policy regarding volunteer assistance in the victim support services;
(b) if yes to (a), will the Minister please table that policy;
(c) if no to (a), why not;
(d) what, if any, training has been or is provided to volunteers in the victim support services;
(e) who is responsible for developing and providing training to volunteers in victim support services; and
(f) is any assistance outside volunteer labour available to people attending court for civil matters generally, and for VRO matters specifically?

Answered on 9 June 2020

(1)(a)(i) Yes, support services for victims have been in place for the last five years, for the following jurisdictions and at the following locations –

  1. Child Witness Service – located in District Court Building and providing services at Perth metropolitan court locations for the Magistrates Court of Western Australia, Children’s Court of Western Australia, District Court of Western Australia, and Supreme Court of Western Australia.
  2. Family Violence Service – located in and providing services for the Magistrates Court of Western Australia at Armadale, Fremantle, Joondalup, Midland, Perth and Rockingham.
  3. Victim Support Service – located in District Court Building and providing services at Perth metropolitan court locations for the Magistrates Court of Western Australia, Children’s Court of Western Australia, District Court of Western Australia, and Supreme Court of Western Australia.
  4. Victim Support and Child Witness Service – located in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia at Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Carnarvon, Derby, Esperance, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Kununurra, Peel, Northam, South Hedland, and District Court Building; and providing services at these regional locations for the Magistrates Court of Western Australia, Children’s Court of Western Australia, District Court of Western Australia, and Supreme Court of Western Australia.

(1)(a)(ii)  All services are currently delivered by Department of Justice employees.                

Over the last five years, the exception was Victim Support and Child Witness Service which was delivered by the following contracted services up to and including 17 March 2020 – 

      • Albany – sole contractor 2015 to 2019 / Anglicare 2019 to 17 March 2020
      • Broome – Anglicare
      • Bunbury (two positions) –
        1. sole contractor and
        2. sole contractor 2015-2019 / Anglicare 2019 to 17 March 2020
      • Carnarvon – Centacare
      • Derby – Anglicare
      • Esperance – Centrecare
      • Geraldton (two positions) – Centacare
      • Kalgoorlie (two positions) – Anglicare
      • Karratha – Anglicare
      • Kununurra – Anglicare.

(1)(a)(iii)    Staff employed to deliver victim support services in the metropolitan area for the last 5 years are:

  1. Child Witness Service – 6 Full Time Equivalent (FTE).
  2. Family Violence Service - 15FTE.
  3. Victim Support Service - 6FTE to 8 March 2020; 7FTE from 9 March 2020.
  4. Victim Support and Child Witness Service – 2.6FTE to 17 March 2020; 18FTE from 18 March 2020.

(1)(a)(iv) Total number of active volunteers for the last five years for Child Witness Service (CWS), Family Violence Service (FVS), Victim Support Service (VSS), and Victim Support and Child Witness Service (VSCWS).

 

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

Metro - VSS

23

23

22

25

 32

 25

Metro- FVS

15

15

16

24

 36

 30

Metro - CWS

5

5

3

7

 1

 1

Peel - VSCWS

2

2

2

2

9

3

Albany - VSCWS

 

4

5

6

3

6

Bunbury - VSCWS

4

4

4

5

7

7

Esperance - VSCWS

1

1

2

2

1

3

Geraldton - VSCWS

 

 

 

 

 

2

Total

50

54

54

71

89

77

 

(1)(a)(v) The following describes criminal versus civil support for each Service.

  1. Child Witness Service – mostly criminal; support is available for some civil clients (for example: restraining order applications where a child has been called as a witness).
  2. Family Violence Service - civil (restraining order matters) and criminal (family violence list matters) for family violence victims.
  3. Victim Support Service – mostly criminal; support is also available for some civil clients (for example: historical child sexual abuse).
  4. Victim Support and Child Witness Service – mostly criminal; support is available for some civil clients (for example: restraining order applicants who are existing criminal clients).

(1)(b)  

  • All referrals received by WA Police, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions or other agencies initiate an offer of service being made.
  • Court registry staff advise court clients of the services.
  • Information is available by Departmental website and pamphlets.

(2)(a)   Yes, the Department of Justice’s Volunteer Management Policy.

(2)(b)   Yes, please see tabled paper number 

(2)(c)   Not applicable.

(2)(d)   Once a volunteer has been successfully appointed by a formal recruitment process, then mandatory onboarding training is provided. This includes corporate policies and service delivery policies and procedures. Ongoing training and supervision is available for all volunteers.

(2)(e)   The Team Manager, Volunteer and Administration Service in conjunction with the relevant service delivery manager, for example Manager Victim Support Service.

(2)(f)    Question 1(a)(v) relates.

            Specific to restraining order matters –

  • Family Violence Service is available at the Magistrates Court of Western Australia at Armadale, Fremantle, Joondalup, Midland, Perth and Rockingham. This Service is available for family violence victims involved in the court system, including family violence victims who are Family Violence Restraining Order applicants.
  • Victim Support and Child Witness Service is available to provide support to existing criminal clients who are also restraining order applicants.