Justice Dogs Help Comfort Victims of Crime
Justice Dogs (Paws 4 Love Therapy Dogs) are making a big difference in one of the most stressful places, the courtroom by helping victims of crime. The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office brings in the dogs to help empower victims of violent crimes, sexual offenses and crimes against children. Teams are also on the job at the Children Advocate Center in Reno.
The typical workday for these dogs vary, but could include sitting in on intake interviews, attending counseling sessions, or comforting victims before or after court hearings.
Prosecutors and judges across the country are finding that the presence of a well–trained dog aids witness testimony by providing the victim with emotional support and comfort both in the witness room and in the courtroom.
The use of courthouse dogs can help bring about a major change in how we meet the emotional needs of all involved in the criminal justice system. The dog’s calming presence creates a more humane and efficient system that enables judges, lawyers, and staff to accomplish their work in a more positive and constructive manner.
Victims are not the only ones benefiting from these new programs. Judges, lawyers, victim advocates, and court staff—all those who deal on a daily basis with the often–horrible consequences of crime—can find their morale boosted through the presence of dogs in court.