Therapy dogs to be introduced into 10 NSW courthouses this year

COMFORTING CANINES: Attorney General Mark Speakman has announced that therapy dogs will be introduced into 10 courthouses in NSW. Photo: KATE GERAGHTY
COMFORTING CANINES: Attorney General Mark Speakman has announced that therapy dogs will be introduced into 10 courthouses in NSW. Photo: KATE GERAGHTY

It remains to be seen if Dubbo Courthouse is “suitable” for a therapy dog.

Ten courts in NSW will get the “comforting canines” for a year after a successful trial at Manly.

Attorney General Mark Speakman announced the move this week.

Her reported that feedback from the nine-month trial revealed the “pet effect” on victims of crime and witnesses.

The Daily Liberal was referred to a statement by Mr Speakman when it asked his office if Dubbo Courthouse was in the running for a therapy dog.

“The Commissioner of Victims Rights is consulting with courts and tribunal services to identify suitable courts,” it read.

“When courts are selected, therapy dog providers will be invited to lodge expressions of interest.”

Mr Speakman is enthusiastic about the roll-out of therapy dogs.

“A visit to court can be among the most stressful experiences a person can endure,” he said.

“During the course of this year, placid pooches will be offering a pat and a paw to help reduce the anxiety of court users at 10 courthouses around the NSW.”

Mr Speakman said there had been an “overwhelmingly positive evaluation” of the therapy dog trial at Manly Courthouse.

It showed support from all participants who provided glowing reports on the benefits of having a friendly animal in the courthouse, he said.

“During the trial, these helpful hounds have assisted hundreds of victims of crime and witnesses who’ve enjoyed the benefits of the scientifically observed pet effect,” Mr Speakman said.

“It is exciting to see such a positive response to the program, not only from participants but also lawyers and court staff as well.”

Therapy dogs are reported to be quiet, specially trained, friendly and happy to interact with strangers.

“More importantly, the trial showed having dogs in the courthouse had no impact on the efficient running of the court,” the statement read. The animals will be located in foyers, waiting rooms, safe rooms and witness rooms as required.  

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