COULTER: Justice facility dogs: The quiet, skilled heroes helping child victims

Kendra Coulter, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Labour Studies at Brock University, wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation about the work of accredited justice facility dogs.

She writes:

“When you’re a victim of crime, especially interpersonal abuse, sharing the truth about what happened is often terrifying. Imagine how much more difficult it is for children.

But today, in many communities, child victims and witnesses are being supported by a quiet, talented and empathetic group of workers — dogs. Justice facility dogs, to be precise.

The idea of enlisting dogs’ distinct skills and abilities is reflected in different kinds of canine care work. Specialized service dogs perform life-changing and life-sustaining work around the clock, helping people with many kinds of disabilities. Therapy dogs work part-time supporting people in hospitals, long-term care facilities and libraries.  

American prosecutor Ellen O’Neill-Stephens and veterinarian Celeste Walsen wanted to enlist highly trained and accredited service dogs to assist children within the justice system, so they co-founded the Courthouse Dogs Foundation in the United States in 2008. The practice has since spread globally.”

Continue reading the full article here.

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