The Office of Public Prosecutions has a Witness Support Dog Program. Under the program, witnesses can ask for a trained support dog to accompany them while giving evidence from the remote witness facility.
The support dog usually sits calmly next to the witness giving evidence and the witness holds the dog’s lead.
Support dogs provide comfort to vulnerable witnesses when waiting for court and while giving evidence.
The support dog only accompanies the witness with the Court’s permission. The dog will usually lie on a mat while the witness is giving evidence and is out of view of the camera in the remote witness facility.
The support dog is trained to respond to the witness’ emotional state and provide physical contact when the witness is upset.
Feedback on the use of the support dog indicates that the dog helps witnesses give evidence with less stress, to stay focussed and give evidence with fewer breaks.