When a child has been maltreated, self-disclosing with an adult about the experience can be difficult, and testifying in court can be traumatic. When trained therapy animals are incorporated into the process, children feel safe and more comfortable speaking about their experiences. Not all programs are the same, however, and guidelines are needed for the safety of the children, therapy animal, and staff. Allie Phillips, co-creator of the Therapy Animals Supporting Kids (TASK)™ Program, discusses how to work with volunteer handler/animal therapy teams. Topics include mitigating risks; incorporating therapy animals as greeters at child advocacy centers, police stations, prosecutors’ offices, and court houses; and use of therapy animals during forensic interviews, medical/SANE examinations, group and individual therapy, court preparation, and courtroom testimony. The presentation also features examples of children’s advocacy centers with successful programs.
National District Attorneys Association
1400 Crystal Drive, Suite 330
Arlington, VA 22202