The opportunity to shadow a magistrate on a specialised circuit court was something I'd never considered.

Over 5 days I got to meet and spend time with Magistrate Courtney, the Deputy registrar of the DV Court in Townsville and all of the amazing staff. I was able to sit in with the clerk of the arrest court, connect with the Justice Group, spend quality time with the staff at the North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Service and connect with a Department of Public Prosecutions senior prosecutor.

I got to fly over to Palm Island, spend time with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Legal Service North Queensland and their amazing lawyers, the Legal Aid Queensland duty lawyer and Corrective Services staff. I met the incredible Community Justice Group Palm Island worker who took me through the community pointing out the beauty of the island and being honest about the struggles. The local community were so warm and welcoming, there is nothing like sitting on the steps of the court house laughing and telling stories with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people─that is a memory I will cherish forever.

The experience was incredible, I could not have learnt the skills I developed inside a classroom and I'm so grateful for the opportunity.

If you are a victim or a perpetrator of domestic and family violence, help is available. A number of counselling, financial and crisis support services in Queensland are available on this website.