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Let's "Paws" to Consider the Possibility: Using Support Dogs with Victims of Crime

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Today, a service dog helping an individual with sight limitations is accepted and relatively common. There are other trained dogs including those who serve individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and those who serve individuals with mobility limitations. Provincial, territorial, and federal human rights legislation ensures that these service dogs are able to accompany those they serve just about anywhere including public transportation, the workplace, stores, and restaurants. Dogs and other animals have also been part of treatment for a wide range of people, including children who have been abused and adults with mental illness.

There is evidence that animals, and in particular dogs, are breaking down more barriers to provide support for victims, witnesses, and offenders by entering the criminal justice domain. As awareness about the role dogs can play in supporting victims of crime grows in Canada, this article provides a timely review of the social science research on the efficacy of therapy/victim services/assistance/support dogs and how they are being used in the United States and Canada to make a difference for victims of crime.


Spencer CW Au

Date 2016
Issue 7
Series Victims of Crime Research Digest
Publisher Government of Canada
Department Department of Justice
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Animal roles
  3. Canada
  4. Crime
  5. Dogs
  6. Mammals
  7. Service animals
  8. United States of America
  9. victims