WA Office of  The Commissioner for Victims of Crime

The WA Department of Justice is committed to improving outcomes for victims of crime, witnesses and other vulnerable people engaged with the justice system. One of the targeted initiatives to achieve this is the pilot Justice Facility Dog Program.

Winston, a five-year-old black Labrador, has been trained by Guide Dogs WA to interact gently and calmly with victims, witnesses and other court users to reduce the stress and anxiety commonly experienced in the courthouse environment.

People can pat and interact with Winston if they choose to. If a person is upset or anxious the dog can provide comforting body pressure by placing its head on their lap or lying on their feet.

Winston and his handler visit the Children’s Court two to three days as part of a 12-month pilot program which will assess the viability of extending the service, including to other WA courts.

Enquiries on the Justice Facility Dog Program can be made to Clerk of the Court, Children’s Court of Western Australia, Perth at childrenscourt@justice.wa.gov.au.