Working with Pets As Therapy, we have trained volunteers and their dogs to support vulnerable victims and witnesses.
In cases where victims or witnesses feel alone, vulnerable or traumatised, we treat witnesses with great care and sensitivity, as they often find it extremely difficult to speak and to open up.
Before we talk to a witness about what might sometimes be some of the most private and upsetting events of their lives, investigators at first try to get to know them to help them relax.
The introduction of a dog into this process assists in putting witnesses at ease and may therefore open up the essential lines of communication sooner.
Each dog and volunteer has undergone an assessment by trained assessors from the Pets as Therapy. This also ensures the dogs are suitable for this scheme and have the appropriate temperament.
How the scheme works
- Investigators who are dealing with you as a witness, who feel you may benefit from the scheme, will ask you if you are interested.
- If it is decided that it could help, the investigator will go through a consent form with you and/ or your appropriate adult if you have one.
- A volunteer and dog will be identified at a time and location, when your statement is to be taken.
- The volunteer will not discuss any circumstances about the case with you and is entirely independent of the investigation.
- In some cases this support may be offered to you at some time after your witness statement has been taken.