Holsworthy MP Melanie Gibbons said the new safe room and additional remote witness room to be constructed at Fairfield Courthouse will "help vulnerable people feel safer to come to court."
The project, part of $9 million in COVID-19 Commonwealth stimulus funding, includes installation of state-of-the-art audio visual link equipment, a kitchenette, an accessible bathroom, new furniture and secure access. The contract has been awarded to Intrec Management Pty Ltd and the stimulus project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
"These new facilities will give witnesses private and secure areas to prepare for court and to give their best evidence," Ms Gibbons said.
"It is heartening to see the community benefit from this investment."
Under new laws passed last November, self-represented defendants will be banned from personally cross examining complainants in domestic violence criminal proceedings and related apprehended domestic violence order proceedings later this year.
As part of the same reforms, complainants in these proceedings also now have a prima facie entitlement to give evidence remotely via Audio Visual Links and in a closed court.
NSW Attorney-General and Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said witnesses have commonly been through serious trauma and coming to court can be very stressful.
"This is particularly true for victim-survivors of domestic, family, and sexual violence," Mr Speakman said.
"These works are part of our ongoing commitment to support victim-survivors if they choose to report to police, and to help them feel confident in coming to court."