HELPING OUT: Volunteers in Policing Judith Munt (left) and Barbara Anderson (right) with police prosecutor Acting Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai.
HELPING OUT: Volunteers in Policing Judith Munt (left) and Barbara Anderson (right) with police prosecutor Acting Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai. Mike Richards GLA240818CORT

Meet the real VIPs of Gladstone's Court House

BARBARA Anderson, Judith Munt and Dorothy Leech are three of the last people you'd expect to see in court.

But these Gladstone ladies are regulars, showing up several times a week, mixing with the motley crew of defendants and acting like they know the place inside-out.

That's because they are VIPs: Volunteers in Policing.

The acronym is an apt one. The trio give up their time on Mondays and Tuesdays to help out at Gladstone Court House.

They help first-time defendants navigate the process, act as a liaison between the prosecution and people waiting to appear, and even look after kids while their parents go before the magistrate or judge.

Generally, they make the process flow smoother for everybody involved.

Barbara Anderson marked ten years volunteering at the court house in February.

Before she decided to help out, she was the coordinator at a local women's shelter.

"There was an ad in the paper asking for volunteers, and I jumped at it," she said.

"I wanted to give something back to the police who helped me out so much then.

"There's a lot of satisfaction involved in us helping out."

 

Vounteer in Policing Barbara Anderson.
HELPING OUT: Gladstone Volunteer in Policing Barbara Anderson. Mike Richards GLA240818CORT

Mrs Munt, in the job for four years, said she particularly enjoyed being able to help people with first-time appearances.

"Some (defendants) are quite frightened as they've never been before," she said.

Mrs Munt said most of the people she meets at the court are polite and respectful.

"They turn around and say thank you," she said.

"There's some that don't, but you don't worry about them.

"I just think to myself, 'You never know - in another life that could have been me'."

National Volunteers Week began on Monday and continues through to this Sunday.

Do you know someone who helps their community? Let us know at newsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au