Volunteers help take the fear out of need to attend court

AFTER 16 years of suffering from domestic violence, Hilde is supporting others in a way she never got to experience herself.

Hilde, who does not wish to use her last name due to safety reasons, has graduated as a volunteer for the Court Network, a service to prepare anyone who is due to attend court.

“I like helping people and talking to them,” she said.

“I’ve had a colourful past and I know how it feels not having the support.”

She said it made her feel good when she saw people leave court with a smile, or at least at ease.

“Nobody was there for me when I had to struggle and I have to stand on my own two feet and run away from things,” Hilde said.

“But I am standing here and recognising they need help.”

Volunteer Neal, who did not wish to use his last name due to safety reasons, received an award to recognise five years of service.

“I can’t believe it has been five years,” he said.

“You just don’t think about it, you just think about doing what you’ve got to do.”

Neal said he got a sense of achievement being recognised for his efforts.

“We don’t offer legal advice, we are there for people who want to talk and need access to services,” he said.

Program manager Betty Renfree said the service was not about judging people.

“We offer support to whoever needs it whether they are the ones being charged or not,” she said.

“Anyone who comes in to court we look after them in the lead up to their case and on the day.”

Anyone wanting to volunteer is encouraged to contact Ms Renfree on 0400 892 071.

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