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Following LSJ’s February cover story “Barking up the right tree: how dogs are creating a healthier justice system”, the NSW Attorney-General, Mark Speakman, has announced therapy dogs will be used in 10 courts.

“A visit to court can be among the most stressful experiences a person can endure. During the course of this year, placid pooches will be offering a pat and a paw to help reduce the anxiety of court users at 10 courthouses around the NSW,” Speakman said. An evaluation of the nine-month trial of therapy dogs at Manly showed support from all participants who provided glowing reports on the benefits of having a friendly animal in the courthouse.

“During the trial, these helpful hounds have assisted hundreds of victims of crime and witnesses who’ve enjoyed the benefits of the scientifically observed ‘pet effect’. It is exciting to see such a positive response to the program, not only from participants but also lawyers and court staff as well,” Speakman said.