UNTIL now, victims and perpetrators in domestic violence matters have had to navigate court sessions without access to duty lawyers.
That changed when the State Government injected $1.1 million into 14 Legal Aid offices across Queensland allowing them to provide free legal representatives for both the aggrieved and respondents in domestic violence cases.
Mackay Legal Aid principal lawyer Kristie Doyle said the change had allowed Mackay residents fairer access to the law.
"I think it's very important," she said.
"I think it's great that the government is putting priority onto domestic violence issues and that they're providing equal assistance to both applicants."
To accommodate the access to duty lawyers, Mackay Magistrate Court has moved domestic violence matters to Fridays. They were previously held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Ms Doyle said the changes, which came into effect in October, had so far proved successful.
"It's going well at this stage. We're getting through the lists and all of the orders are being made in time," she said.
State Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said it was essential that the government responded to domestic violence cases in Queensland.
"We need to put a stop to the cycle of abuse and send a message out to the community," she said.
"In Mackay, for the period between July 2013 and June 2014, there were 621 applications for domestic violence orders put in place."
Ms Gilbert was invited to view proceedings during a domestic violence matter at Mackay Magistrates Court on November 20.