The Courier-Mail

Praise for domestic violence court

- GREG STOLZ

AUSTRALIAN of the Year Rosie Batty has backed a new domestic violence court which will begin sitting on the Gold Coast next week but says more needs to be done to combat the scourge.

The court, one of the recommenda­tions of former governor-general Quentin Bryce’s landmark Not Now, Not Ever report into domestic violence, will sit for the first time at Southport courthouse on Tuesday.

Speaking on the Gold Coast, Ms Batty – whose 11year-old son Luke was murdered at cricket practice by his father in Melbourne last year – welcomed the special court initiative and the Palaszczuk Government’s decision to adopt all 140 of the Bryce report’s recommenda­tions.

But she said more work was needed, including better domestic violence training for police, magistrate­s and court staff and a bigger focus on perpetrato­rs.

“Dedicated family violence courts are cer- tainly a great step because it’s such a complex issue and there’s a real need for a specialise­d response,’’ she said.

“But I’d also like to see improved family violence training for all magistrate­s and court staff and more work done with perpetrato­rs.’’

Ms Batty (pictured) backed a recent report by former Victorian attorneyge­neral Rob Hulls who recommende­d measures including 24-hour “flash incarcerat­ion” of domestic violence offenders.

She was speaking after Gold Coast-based hotel giant the Mantra Group came on board as the first major corporate sponsor of her Luke Batty Foundation, establishe­d in February.

Mantra chief executive Bob East said the company was inspired to partner with the foundation after Ms Batty spoke at its annual meeting last month.

He said the group’s 4000 staff would help raise funds at its 120 hotels in Australia and New Zealand.

Ms Batty said she was “thrilled” as family violence had been seen as a “very uncomforta­ble topic” for companies to be associated with.

“We need corporate Australia to get behind social issues like family violence and I am really pleased to be working with Mantra Group,” she said. “So many people suffer alone but together we can ensure that community awareness brings this issue to the fore so no one is afraid to speak up.”

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