PACT is a community based, non-government organisation. The Governor of Queensland has been the Patron of PACT since shortly after its establishment in 1985 by a group of concerned citizens, including the parents of a four year old complainant in a sexual assault matter. PACT has a specific mandate through the Child Witness Support Program (CWSP) to respond to the special needs of children and young people aged 3-17 years (and their non-offending family members) who are victims or witnesses within the Criminal Justice System. PACT is a service provider and has a broader role as an advocate for child witnesses, across all areas of Government and the community.
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PACT is recognised as one of the peak non-government bodies in Queensland working in the field of child protection and advocating on the behalf of children and young people. The CWSP provides support for the child witness called upon to testify within the court system, by the use of carefully selected and trained Child Witness Support Volunteers (CWSV) who:
- Are unbiased, experienced and court approved.
- Remain impartial and do not discuss evidence.
- Provide information to the child or young person and their carers about court proceedings.
- Prepare the child or young person for the court process.
- Visit the Recording of Evidence/court room with the child witness prior to the court hearing, if required.
- Support and reassure the child or young person during their waiting time in the court building.
- Accompany the child or young person whilst they meet with their Prosecutor and view their original Police Statements.
- Accompany the child or young person whilst they give evidence.
- Maintain appropriate contact with the child witness and their families and caregiver(s) until they have given evidence.
- Liaise with a broad range of individuals (community, legal profession, police, government).
PACT currently has approximately 100 trained Volunteers who work on an individual basis with child victims or witnesses to prepare them for their involvement in the Criminal Justice System. The CWSP provides support to over 1,550 child witnesses plus their families each year and currently operates in the Brisbane Metropolitan, Ipswich, Logan City, Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Gympie, Kingaroy, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Emerald, Mackay, Bowen, Mount Isa, Townsville and Cairns areas.
To facilitate client’s access to appropriate counselling, PACT has established referral pathways with key Therapy providers throughout Queensland. The list of the available providers can be found on the PACT website.
PACT advocates on behalf of children and young people by making representation to Government and other key Stakeholders and participating in legislative reform processes. PACT has established formalised consultative mechanisms where evidence-based information is provided to facilitate improvements across the child protection and legal sectors. PACT has also implemented the Post Evidence Feedback Survey to enable child witnesses to provide verbatim feedback on their court experience. This valuable information has resulted in positive changes across the policing, child protection, legal sectors.
PACT gratefully receives funding through donations, membership fees and a recurrent grant from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
Key People in PACT
HIS EXCELLENCY THE HONOURABLE PAUL DE JERSEY AC, GOVERNOR OF QUEENSLAND
CHILD WITNESS SUPPORT LIAISON
Dr Katrina Lines MAICD
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
FINANCE AND OPERATIONS OFFICER
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR - GREATER BRISBANE
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR - REGIONAL