Support Dogs helping those most vulnerable give evidence

As an Australian Qualified Solicitor living and working in the UK I am always looking to see how certain initiatives could be transferred from one legal system to another.

In Melbourne, Australian the courts have introduced support dogs to help victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence to give evidence. Whilst America and Canada have run a similar programme for over a decade, this is the first trial of its kind in Australia.

Coop, the black Labrador has already helped 140 victims give evidence. Trained in a similar way to a service dog, Coop provides emotional support to the victim and sits in the witness box alongside them to help alleviate anxiety and other symptoms of trauma. It will be curious to see whether the UK will trial a similar programme to support those that are the most vulnerable to give evidence in the best way possible.

If you would like to read more about the initiative and Coop the service dog, please follow the link:


Hannah Salisbury-Carter