Irish charity seeks to employ courthouse dog to assist with children giving evidence
Courthouse dogs are commonly used in America to assist children through the difficult process.
An Irish charity that provides support to children and families affected by sexual abuse is seeking to employ a courthouse dog to help children in criminal court cases.
Children At Risk in Ireland (CARI) has partnered with Dogs for the Disabled, and is hoping to fundraise €130,000 to train a courthouse dog as part of a two-year research project.
The Irish courts service is said to be fully cooperative with CARI's plan to introduce one courthouse dog in Ireland.
CARI's Executive Director, Eve Farrelly spoke on RTÉ's Drivetime on Thursday about the partnership.
She said that once funding is secured, Dogs For The Disabled has agreed to "specifically and specially train a dog".
She also said that exposure to dogs is proven to have a "significant impact" on the stress levels of humans.
"Anybody who works with children will know that you can't work with them in isolation. Wherever there is a child, there is also the child's support network, which is often the child's family, and they bring with them their own anxieties."
Courthouse dogs are commonly used in America to help reduce witness anxiety.