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Child Witness Project

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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, expert testimony, clinical victim impact statements, and criminal injuries reports. The Court preparation protocol includes education, stress reduction, 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.

Click here to download a full description of the program.

The CWP is proud to introduce Merel, our facility dog…

This year, our courthouse facility dog Merel was proud to be listed among the Mayor’s 2019 New Year Honourees. Click below to view photos from the event.

Click here to understand why Merel is a professional, not a pet.

The introduction of a facility dog to the CWP team in London marks the first time a professionally trained canine has been brought in to assist London and area children and youth within the justice system.

A well-mannered, professionally trained dog can enhance feelings of calm and security, and better enable a child to feel comforted while going through the courtroom experience.  In addition, research has shown that children supported by a facility dog show a decrease in symptoms of stress, such as a rapid heart rate and high blood pressure.  This calming effect helps reduce anxiety and enables children and youth to be more clear, communicative and responsive.

London’s new facility dog Merel has been provided by National Service Dogs and will work with clients both at the London Family Court Clinic and at the London Courthouse.

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

For more information:
Rachel Braden
Child Witness Program Coordinator
Phone:  519-679-7250, ext. 132

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors.

The CWP is not receiving any additional government funding to support Merel. If you’d like to support her, click the button below but don’t forget to specify that your well appreciated donation is specifically for Merel.