Members of this team help children and adolescents called to testify as victims or witnesses in Criminal Court, usually in cases of physical or sexual abuse, peer assaults or domestic violence. Referrals are also accepted for capacity assessments and expert testimony. The Court preparation protocol includes court education and orientation, stress reduction and coping strategies, emotional support, and advocacy. The Child Witness Project (CWP) has been in operation since 1987 and is funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General.
The CWP is proud to introduce NSD Yzer, our facility dog. The introduction of a facility dog to the CWP team in 2016 marked the first time a professionally trained canine had been brought in to assist London and area children and youth within the justice system.
Merel (Left, previous facility dog) & Yzer (right)
NSD Merel, the first facility dog to work with the CWP team, retired in the fall of 2019 after making an incredible difference in hundreds of court-involved children and youth’s lives. Merel’s successor, and younger sister, NSD Yzer, joined the CWP team in the spring of 2019 and filled the large paw prints left after Merel’s retirement. Both of the facility dogs were trained and provided by National Service Dogs (NSD).
National Service Dogs, an Assistance Dogs International accredited agency, has been breeding, training and placing certified service dogs since 1996 and offers the only accredited canine assisted intervention program in Ontario. Originally focused on supporting people with autism, they also certify service dogs for their post-traumatic stress disorder program and their canine assisted intervention or facility dog program. These dogs are valued at $10,000 each and are provided free of charge to approved clients. National Service Dogs receives no government funding and relies entirely on donations. To make a donation to the National Service Dogs program, please visit www.nsd.on.ca.
Likewise, LFCC’s CWP receives no government funding to support the facility dog and so relies entirely on donations. Your donations are tax-deductible and assist Yzer in accomplishing her mission.
For more information:
Clinician, Secondary Dog Handler