About VWCCS

VWCCS is a completely independent organisation, staffed by volunteers. VWCCS was established to inform and support victims and witnesses of crime within the unfamiliar environment of the court.

 

VWCCS does not operate under the umbrella of any organisation. Our independence allows us the flexibility to give court support and assistance to clients involved in criminal hearings held under the State jurisdiction of the Local, District, Supreme, Children’s and Coroners’ Courts of New South Wales, and in some instances other States in Australia, as well as criminal matters held under the Commonwealth jurisdiction. The ability to work in State and Commonwealth jurisdictions makes VWCCS a unique court support agency for victims and witnesses of crime.

For more information, please browse the topics below.

VWCCS's Aims and Objectives

The principal objectives of VWCCS are to provide:

  • A unique, high standard and non-judgmental court support 
service for its clients: victims and witnesses of crime, their family members and close friends in both State and Commonwealth criminal matters.
  • A unique and high standard court support service providing continuity by extending its service to cover clients whose matters begin in the Children’s or Local Courts of New South Wales and which later may progress to a higher Court.
  • A unique and high standard court support service which does not duplicate any other court support service operating in the New South Wales and Commonwealth criminal jurisdictions, but supplements such services when required.
Patrons

 

 

Professor Gordian Fulde

Professor Gordian Fulde is the Director of Emergency at St.Vincent’s Hospital and Sydney Hospital. He was also awarded the Senior Australian of the year 2016.

Professor S. Caroline Taylor AM

Foundation Chair in Social Justice, head of Social Justice Research Centre at Edith Cowan University and honorary Research Associate at the Indigenous Law Centre, University of NSW. Professor Taylor is one of Australia’s leading experts and consultants in the field of child sexual violence and domestic violence and the criminal justice response to victims/survivors and social models of trauma and recovery.

Organisation Structure

VWCCS became incorporated in March 2008 and is governed by an Incorporated Committee.

 

A Management Committee was established in 2010 to oversee and make decisions about the operational issues of VWCCS. The Management Committee comprises representatives of VWCCS’ Incorporated Committee, Court Support Officer  (CSO) Coordinators, and Reception and Information Desk Coordinators from each of the Sydney locations in which VWCCS provides a service.

A number of specific-purpose subcommittees have been established to administer the ongoing and day‐to‐day operations of VWCCS. The subcommittees present recommendations to the Management Committee on policy issues.

The Subcommittees are:

  • Induction and Training Program for new volunteers
  • Professional Development and Training for existing volunteers
  • Human Resource Management
  • Legal Issues and Victim Impact Statements
  • PR/Publicity
  • IT and Website Development and Maintenance
  • Grant Applications.
Recent Awards
  • In 2014, VWCCS Parramatta team were awarded the 2014 Volunteer Team of the Year award for the Sydney Mid West region.
  • In 2013, VWCCS was a finalist in the NSW Volunteer of the Year Award and a finalist in the 2013 Law and Justice Awards.
  • Ms Pieta Thornton was awarded the Sydney City/East Individual Volunteer of the Year Award as part of the 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award sponsored by the NSW Centre for Volunteering.
  • In addition Ms Pieta Thornton was awarded an Order of Australia Medal as part of the 2014 Australia Day Honours.
History

VWCCS has been operating as an independent agency since the beginning of 2006 under the directorship of Pieta Thornton.

 

Major Milestones:

  • VWCCS was co-founded by Pieta Thornton in 2006. We started with a room at the Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre and commenced court support at Bidura Children’s Court in Glebe with just two volunteers.
  • In 2007 the first Induction and Training Program was held. Most of these volunteers are still with us today. We then made submissions to the Downing Centre, were allocated a room and offered our services initially for three days a week, expanding to five days a week by the end of 2007.
  • In 2009, we conducted a further Induction and Training Program so that we could begin our service at the Parramatta Local and Parramatta Children’s court.
  • In 2010, we established a dedicated area in the Downing Centre called the Police Witness Meeting Area so that our clients would have a private place to meet with us and the Police. At each of the courts in which we operate, we have a room where we can meet our clients in private so that they do not have to come into contact with the accused and have a quiet place for their court preparation.
  • In 2013 we expanded our service to Orange, the first of our regional locations.
  • We have pioneered a number of initiatives including the establishment of a dedicated Reception and Information Service who have serviced more than 30,000 enquiries at the Downing Centre and the Parramatta Justice Precinct.
  • In 2015 we are expanding to Parramatta District Court, Waverley Court and Bathurst Local and District Courts. We  currently have about 140 volunteers.

Fiona Matthews presents at the Annual Volunteers in Policing Conference

Fiona Matthews and Denis O’Connell attended the Annual  Volunteers in Policing Conference at the Park Royal Hotel in Parramatta on Saturday, 20th May. Fiona gave a presentation on behalf of VWCCS and she and Denis received a number of inquiries from VIP’s concerning joining our organisation  Fiona made a presentation on VWCCS... read more

NSW Attorney-General, Mark Speakman MP addresses VWCCS on the training day

NSW Attorney-General, Mark Speakman MP, was a valued guest of VWCCS at its 2017 first quarterly in-service Refresher / Training Program for its Volunteers held at Parliament House on Friday, 17 March. One of his key objectives, which from VWCCS’ point of view is a significant one, is to ensure that the general public is informed of the processes of the court and its officers in order to facilitate their confidence in the legal system. VWCCS volunteers not only provides witness support in court but is also able to inform both the general public as well as explain to victims and witnesses their role, obligations and entitlements when called to give... read more

VWCCS plans to expand its services to Dubbo in the near future

Whilst regional areas of NSW experience higher incidents of particular crimes, particularly break and enter and assault, support services for victims and witnesses are often stretched VWCCS has provided services in Orange and in Bathurst over several years. It is now a matter of awaiting the outcome of a funding proposal to recruit, train and supervise new Court Support Officers to enable the establishment of a Dubbo service within twelve months of funding becoming... read more

Locations

VWCCS has a permanent presence at several NSW courts in Sydney, Bathurst, and Orange. We can also assist witnesses at other locations if advised beforehand.

See the courts where VWCCS operates

Testimonials

“Thank you so much for taking the time to talk me through the whole court process – it was very helpful & has gone a long way to making me feel calmer & more confident…”

See what people say about VWCCS’s service

Contact VWCCS

You can visit the VWCCS help desk at the Downing Centre Courts (Sydney), contact us via phone, email, or by completing a contact form on this website.

See VWCCS’s contact details