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


Sign your support for getting comfort dogs into Australian courts:

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Latest activity

Elizabeth , EH1 1PB  /  signed 2019-01-18 07:07:56 +1100
"I work in the court and see the issues. Having a support dog is a fantastic idea."
Elisabeth , 4805  /  signed 2019-01-18 02:04:41 +1100
"I have been to court for domestic violence and found the process stressful and traumatic. I can only imagine the comfort that these dogs would bring to people who are going through things far worse than I."
Mark , 3224  /  signed 2019-01-17 20:27:36 +1100
"This is a great support initiative!!"
Leah , 3844  /  signed 2019-01-17 20:15:41 +1100
"Supporting abuse survivors and helping minimise the impact of revisiting the trauma is an issue that is close to my heart. I believe we should do everything in our power to support and provide comfort to survivors going to court."
Sallie , 4215  /  signed 2019-01-17 20:05:43 +1100
Emma , 3226  /  signed 2019-01-17 20:02:02 +1100
Lindi , 3758  /  signed 2019-01-13 10:14:43 +1100
"I work with traumatised children and their families who need to attend court. The presence of a therapy dog has been observed to have a calming affect and would’ve advantage in court."
Carly , 10154  /  signed 2019-01-07 21:19:49 +1100
"We all know the importance of comfort. If a trained dog can comfort a person in the most terrible situation, then I’m all for it. Great initiative"
gaye , 4825  /  signed 2018-12-15 12:56:44 +1100
Cindy , 3630  /  signed 2018-11-10 21:46:18 +1100
"Because it will make such a difference to people needing a unique level of support una le to be offered by humans."
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