The refuge room in the court has become more “friendly” thanks to a grant from Victim Support Service.
The room is a safe place in which vulnerable witnesses can sit and wait before giving evidence in court.
Regional services manager Jodie Sloan said it was a “victim’s right” to have a safe place to go before they gave evidence. “I would go as far to say some people wouldn’t give evidence if they didn’t have a safe place in which to sit and wait,” she said.
Port Pirie court registrar Bev Puust said the vulnerable witness room was isolated from other waiting rooms.
“When someone goes to court it can be a stressful process,” she said.
“The artworks in the room will make it more friendly.”
She said the department was working towards installing a video link between the room and the court chambers so witnesses could give evidence without the stress of facing the accused.
A vulnerable witness may be under the age of 16, suffer from an intellectual disability, be a victim of a sexual offence to which the proceedings relate, or a witness who is, in the opinion of the court, at some special disadvantage because of the circumstances of the case or circumstances of the witness.
Victim Support Service regional coordinator Jenny Lewis said the art work was bought from a local business from a grant from her organisation.
“We are also looking at other sources of art to decorate the court,” she said.
She said the service and court worked closely throughout the State to support victims of crime.
Vulnerable witness provisions include closed circuit television, one-way screen, court companions and closed courts.
The upgraded room will help to ensure peace of mind and a respectful environment for victims.