Comfort dogs

Get comfort dogs into Australian courts

Domestic violence and sexual assault are some of the most traumatic experiences imaginable -- and many survivors find the prospect of going to court extremely daunting.

Every day, survivors – including children – are expected to re-live what can be the worst experiences of their lives. It's intimidating, re-traumatising, and isolating. 

It doesn't have to be this way. Special "comfort dogs" like Coop (pictured) are being trained to sit with, comfort, and soothe survivors as they give evidence. 

In the US and Canada, comfort dogs are allowed in court. Australia isn't there yet -- but there's hope that with a new K9 Support pilot program recently established, and enough public support, Coop and other comfort dogs like her might make it there.

Can you show your support for getting comfort dogs into Australian courts? 

If you have been affected by sexual assault or domestic violence, you can access 24/7 counselling support at 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

More information (click to view)

In both Canada and the USA, courts now allow specially trained Labrador dogs to sit with, comfort, and soothe children and other vulnerable survivors as they give evidence.

The program is having a wide range of benefits. Survivors report that through the relationship with their "courthouse dog", the judicial process is less traumatising and they are able to give clearer evidence. Survivors of domestic violence are also more likely to see their case through.

Help us get to 5,000 signatures

4,276 SIGNATURES

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Latest activity

Kerry , 2041  /  signed 2018-09-20 11:05:11 +1000
"I’ve witnessed the positive effect of allowing comfort dogs on campus for students with mental health issues. The students’ attendance rate escalated dramatically as they were more able to cope with an unfamiliar environment."
Kerry , 2041  /  signed 2018-09-20 11:05:11 +1000
"I’ve witnessed the positive effect of allowing comfort dogs on campus for students with mental health issues. The students’ attendance rate escalated dramatically as they were more able to cope with an unfamiliar environment."
Lizzie , 3551  /  signed 2018-08-22 19:22:54 +1000
"BECAUSE ITS IMPORTANT TO HAVE THESE DOGS HERE IN AUSTRALIA, AS ABROAD. WHEN I WAS GIVING EVIDENCE AGAINST ONE VERY WANTED INDIVIDUAL, IN COURT, I WAS HAMMERED FOR AN HOUR BY HIS LAWYER, THEN STARTED TO GET HAMMERED BY THE JUDGE AS WELL BECAUSE HE HAD NEVER HEARD OF RAYBAN AVIATOR SPECS. NOR HAD HE HEARD OF RAYBAN IN GENERAL. THE SHAPE OF THOSE SPEC FRAMES WAS CRITICAL TO THE EVIDENCE AGAINST THE CRIMINAL INVOLVED. I SURELY COULD HAVE DONE WITH A SUPPORT DOG THEN. I WAS ONLY ABLE TO KEEP GOING BECAUSE OF THE KINDLY FACES OF THE JURY, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HUGE COURT. MY EVIDENCE RELATED TO AN EXTREMELY VIOLENT ARMED ROBBERY IN AN AUSTRALIAN GOVT BANK . ULTIMATELY MY EVIDENCE PUT THAT CRIMINAL AWAY FOR AN EXTRA 10 YEARS."
Merryn , 3057  /  signed 2018-08-19 14:15:37 +1000
Starre , 3076  /  signed 2018-08-07 22:29:49 +1000
Jenet , 3163  /  signed 2018-08-04 09:40:59 +1000
"Support is needed by every victim and humans are not always the best alternative. Animals can be the alternative."
Victoria , 3031  /  signed 2018-07-06 13:36:16 +1000
john , 3620  /  signed 2018-07-06 10:28:42 +1000
Sophie , 2606  /  signed 2018-07-06 09:30:36 +1000
Narelle , 3630  /  signed 2018-07-06 09:25:34 +1000
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