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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 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.

Click here to download a full description of the program.

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)

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 criminal court process. 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.

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

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.

For more information:
Chelsea Quick
Lead Clinician, Secondary Facility Dog Handler
Phone: 519-280-2878
E-mail: chelsea.quick@lfcc.on.ca

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors.

The CWP is not receiving any additional government funding to support Yzer. 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 Yzer.