New South Wales Canine Court Companion Program

The Canine Court Companion Program (also referred to as the CCCP) is a community-based initiative by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in partnership with NSW Government, Department of Justice (Victim Services). The program is designed to support victims of crime and ease the stress of attending court.

Trained dogs and their handlers attend nominated courthouses four days each week for 90 minutes, between 9am and 12pm. The dogs offer support in publicly accessible areas of the courthouse, including the foyer and safe room. Handlers may also receive special requests from police or court professionals to assist with people who are especially anxious, or who might benefit from spending time with one of the dogs.

A recent evaluation of the program found that 96% of engagements with a CCCP team were ‘positive’. There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence of the dogs having a calming and uplifting effect on victims, family and friends as well as court professionals and volunteers.

CCCP dog teams visit courthouses in Manly, Gosford, Sutherland, Burwood, Campbelltown, Orange, Lismore, Goulburn, Nowra and Wagga Wagga.

The Canine Court Companion Program may be offered at more locations in the future.