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New Zealand Courts should have therapy dogs available for children and vulnerable people participating in the system, National’s Courts spokesperson Chris Penk says.

“It can often be a traumatic experience for victims participating in the courts system. In some cases they are facing someone who committed crimes against them, in other cases it can be parents fighting for custody over children. These can be stressful and emotional situations.

“We should be supporting victims and others who are participating in the Court system, often through no fault of their own, by providing trained therapy dogs to make their experience more comfortable and less re-traumatising.

“Trained therapy dogs make the Court experience easier, particularly for children and victims of violent and sexual offending.

“Louie the Tauranga District Court Dog was a much loved and hardworking Court therapy dog, and many people appreciated having him near. Unfortunately he passed away last year. I want to see dogs like Louie supporting children and victims across New Zealand.

“National recently released its Law and Order Discussion Document. This is one part of our plan to put victims at the heart of our Justice system.

“It’s time the Government committed to every court having dogs like Louie available.”

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