It is known that taking part in criminal proceedings significantly increases the chances of suffering from re-victimisation and prolonged trauma, to which vulnerable victims are particularly susceptible. Victims of crime often have to go through stressful settings such as a medical examination, interview at a police station, or a testimony in a courtroom. Research has shown that dogs can reduce a person’s anxiety by promoting a safe feeling and providing contact-comfort, and therefore reduce the risk of secondary victimisation for the victims.
Based on the work of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation in the US, VSE is leading the first European project to train and deploy at least 5 dogs in Belgium, Italy and France to support vulnerable victims during criminal proceedings: FYDO – Facility Dogs in Europe. Facility Dogs (FYDO) are carefully selected and highly trained by specialist organisation and handled to support vulnerable victims in their recovery.