FYDO Final Conference

Conference Agenda

Please find below the preliminary conference programme.


Time Topic
9:30 – 10:00 Registration and welcome of participants
10:00 – 10:30 Welcoming remarks

  • Tereza Jachova | Deputy Coordinator (Justice) & JHA Counsellor (Criminal Justice), Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union
  • Saskia Bricmont | Member of the European Parliament, Greens/European Free Alliance
  • Jérôme Moreau | President, Association Nivernaise d’Aide aux Victimes d´Infractions & Vice-President, France Victimes and Victim Support Europe
10:30 – 11:00 The origins of FYDO

  • The history of Courthouse dogs in the USA
    Ellen O’Neill-Stephens | Founder, Courthouse Dog Foundation (USA)
  • The introduction of Facility Dogs in France
    Michel De Sousa
    | Network Coordinator, France Victimes
  • Setting up the European FYDO project
    Aleksandra Ivankovic | Deputy Director, Victim Support Europe
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 – 11:35  Unleashing the power of the pet human bond for societal impact

  • Mary Sharrock | External Relations Director, Nestlé Purina PetCare Europe 
11:35 – 13:00 Working with FYDO to support victims of crime

Moderator: Léa Meindre-Chautrand | Policy Officer, Victim Support Europe

  • Working with a FYDO dog in a victim support service
    Sabrina Belluci | Director, Viaduq67 Strasbourg (France)
  • Working with a FYDO dog in a police station
    Evi Vandendriessche | First Chief Inspector, Ghent Police Zone (Belgium)
  • Working with a FYDO dog in women’s shelters
    Patricia Dubois | International Project Manager, Dog4Life (Italy)
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 14:45 What does it mean to train a FYDO and their handler?

Moderator: Pamela Dalby | Fundraising & Sponsorship Advisor, Victim Support Europe

  • Florian Auffret | Research and Development Officer, Handi’Chiens (France)
  • Gerrit Martens | Co-founder, Canisha vzw (Belgium)
  • Kay Botte | Trainer, Hachiko vzw (Belgium)
  • Dr. Sara Volpi | Ethologist, Trainer, Dog4Life (Italy)
14:45 – 15:15 Value of FYDO: Research, findings and testimonies

  • Dr Conor O’Mahony | Professor of Law – University College Cork (Ireland)
15:15 – 15:45 Coffee break
15:45 – 16:45


Future of FYDO

Moderator: Levent Altan | Executive Director, Victim Support Europe

  • Axelle de Laforcade |Magistrate, deputy to the head of the victim support and association policy office department of access to rights, justice and assistance to victims, French Ministry of Justice
  • Katarzyna Janicka-Pawlowska | European Commission Coordinator for Victims’ Rights
  • Gianluca Forlani | Judge & JHA Counsellor – Judicial Cooperation in criminal matters, Permanent Representation of Italy to the European Union
  • Jolena Flett | Head of Advocacy and New Projects, Victim Support Northern Ireland
16:45 – 17:00 Closing remarks

  • Petra Klein | Vice-President, Victim Support Europe

Conference Details & Registration

DATE: Tuesday, 18 October 2022

LOCATION: Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union
Rue Caroly 15, 1050 Bruxelles – Ixelles, Belgie / Belgium

Simultaneous interpretation to English and French is offered to all participants attending the conference. More technical information on this matter will follow closer to the date of the event.

To find more information about the event, click here.


Co-funded by

Conference organised in collaboration with:
Conference announcement
French translation


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.


VSE’s team will be reinforced by FYDO experts internally and partnership will bring together all major FYDO initiatives in Europe:

Handi’Chiens (FR) is an association recognized as a public utility which educates and provides free assistance dogs to people with disabilities. Since its creation in 1989, more than 2,300 dogs have been handed over to children or adults in fragile situations. Handi’Chiens has trained the first Facility Dogs in the EU, LOL who is handled by the fire department of the Lot department in France.

Dogs4Life Onlus (IT) is a non-profit organization that was born with the aim of transforming and improving the lives of people with disabilities and allowing them to live independently and enjoy an exciting lifestyle with highly trained assistance dogs. Dog4Life will train 3 dogs to be deployed in shelters for women victims of domestic violence and victims aid centers.

Viaduq 67 (FR) is a non-profit association, member of the France Victimes network.  Viaduq67 focuses its action on supporting victims, listening to them and supporting them in all their efforts. The support to  victims is ensured by a multidisciplinary team made up of lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, mediators, specialized educators, etc. Viaduq67 is hosting the second Facility Dog in France, Orphée.

Canisha (BE) is a recognised association authorized by the Flemish government that trains assistance dogs and makes them available free of charge to people with disabilities. In this way Canisha wants to increase the autonomy, self-reliance and reintegration of people with a visible and non-visible disability. As part of the FYDO project Canisha and Hachiko will train Facility Dogs that will be placed to assist victims in criminal proceedings.

Hachiko (BE) is the first Belgian association for the training of assistance dogs for people with a motor disability. Thanks to Hachiko, 125 assistance dogs in Flanders are available every day to help their owners. As part of the FYDO project Canisha and Hachiko will train Facility Dogs that will be placed to assist victims in criminal proceedings.

The University College of Cork (IE) will conduct the research part of the FYDO project with the aim of evaluating the victims’ experience with the presence of a Facility Dog. The research will educate project partners initially and ultimately external stakeholders and the broader public about the benefits and impacts of facility dogs.

Objectives of the project:

  • Develop and introduce a novelty training programme for FYDO dogs and handlers;
  • Train 5 FYDO dogs and up to 10 handlers;
  • Support at least 200 highly vulnerable victims;
  • Raise awareness and disseminate results to inform stakeholders and general public;
  • Advocate for the embedding of the service into the justice systems and extension of the service in project countries and in the rest of the EU.

Activities under the project:

  • Training of trainers, handlers and dogs
  • Placement of dogs into services (police station, victim support services, shelters for women victims of domestic violence, victims aid centers, …)
  • Research
  • Dissemination

Promotion material

FYDO leaflet
FYDO promotion poster
FYDO instruction poster
FYDO business card: Dog4Life
FYDO business card: Viaduq 67

VSE would like to thank Elastik for their work on the FYDO logo and branding.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Victim Support Europe and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.