Courts are an unfamiliar place to most. They represent some of the most horrific things that humans can do to one another. For people who have experienced family violence, going to court can mean facing your abuser in public and telling a room full of people what they did to you. For some, it can be a form of retraumatisation.
Compare the fear and uncertainty of going through the criminal justice system with the safety and security of a dog’s support – stroking their soft ears, feeling the weight of their head resting on your lap, the soft little sniffs and kisses they give. We all know the feeling of a dog’s comfort.
So what happens when we combine the two? What happens when we introduce support dogs to the courtroom?
Thank you for joining us in a talk with Julie Morrison, manager of the Office of Public Prosecution’s court dogs program, to hear all about how dogs can support domestic and family violence victim-survivors through the criminal justice system.