Good dogs back to work as canine court companions

By Anna Macdonald

April 29, 2022

Mark Speakman
NSW attorney-general Mark Speakman. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

The Canine Court Companion Program (CCCP) has resumed, having been shut down during the pandemic.

The program, funded by the NSW government, uses dogs trained with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

Services by the program have been resumed at Manly, Burwood, Campbelltown, Sutherland, Gosford, Goulburn, Nowra, Wagga Wagga, and Orange. The therapy dogs attend nominated courthouses up to four days each week.

The program is also available to police or court professional through special request, to assist with anxiety.

New South Wales attorney-general Mark Speakman said the dogs help relieve the stress and anxiety of giving testimony for vulnerable groups such as children.

“I am pleased these fabulous dogs are back on duty, helping court users feel more relaxed in what can be a very stressful environment,” said Speakman.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT CEO Dale Cleaver also expressed his pleasure at seeing the dogs back at work.

“Having a beautiful dog around for a pat and a chat can calm people who are feeling nervous about coming to court, particularly young children,” Cleaver said.

“We’re thrilled that our Therapy Dog teams are back at work in courthouses across the state, bringing comfort and companionship to court users.”

According to the NSW Government, having the Labradors at court has a calming effect on those present.

Similar programs exist in other states, such as in South Australia through the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in partnership with Guide Dogs SA/NT.


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