Legal assistance dogs for children

During the hearing, the dog lies down next to the child, puts his head on his knees, and can stick more or less strongly against him. 305686829/VLRS – stock.adobe.com

They are trained to accompany and calm minors questioned by investigators. Six are currently employed in France.

At the Saint-Lô hospital, in the Manche department, the team of the medico-judicial unit (UMJ) has just expanded. Softness, serenity, empathy… The new recruit has exceptional qualities. Beautiful bronze eyes, too, and a jet black coat: Ravel is a 2-year-old Labrador whose mission, alongside psychologists and investigators, is to support child and adolescent victims during their legal journey. of violence.

Currently, six legal assistance dogs are employed on French territory. An innovative device, imported from the United States, supported by the Ministry of Justice, the associations Handi’Chiens and La Voix de l’enfant, which seems to work miracles.

A sharp training

Each year, some 250 minors are heard within the UMJ of Saint-Lô, mainly for sexual violence. “It is important for them that the revelation of their word is not one more traumaunderlines Émilie Morançais, psychologist and main referent…

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