Each Barnahus and similar setup takes great care to design a positive experience for the children who visit their service. For traumatic stories to become reliable evidence, every detail matters.
Even the furry details.
Children are naturally drawn to animals, and child-friendly services which use facility dogs report that the comfort they provide often leads to better results for children. From bonding in the lobby to accompanying the child throughout the facility, children are less stressed and have a non-human to tell their story. The evidence gathered is of a high quality, the child has a positive memory from the visit, and the dog is happy to be a companion in exchange for long walks and plenty of treats at nighttime.
The Courthouse Dogs Foundation founders Ellen O’Neill-Stephens and Celeste Walsen talked about:
- How courthouse facility dogs help children to tell their stories,
- How to decide if a dog could be a successful addition to your service, and what the process looks like,
- What to consider to make sure both canine and human staff members are comfortable and happy.
This webinar is targeted at professionals who want to improve evidence collection and prevent trauma for child victims and witnesses of violence, including those who visit multi-disciplinary and interagency collaborations.