It is a really daunting task to stand in a room full of strangers and testify against your abuser. Sexual assault victims go through a lot of mental trauma not only during the assault but also when they give their testimony in a courthouse. And understandably, it is even worse for children. Illinois has now recruited a black Labrador to help such victims during their testimony.
Hatty is 2 years old and received her training as a therapy dog from prison inmates. It was done via Duo Dogs– a nonprofit organization from Missouri that provides assistance dogs.
Illinois state attorney’s office has employed this black Labrador as its first therapy dog. The cute doggo was sworn in on 29th October 2019. She placed her right paw on a law book and took her oath in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
A trauma-informed and victim-centered model is one of the many ways our office works to better serve victims and witnesses. pic.twitter.com/2z5W2fp1Fl
— State’s Attorney Kim Foxx (@SAKimFoxx) October 29, 2019
Hatty the black Labrador will be providing support mainly to child sexual assault victims.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is the first African-American woman to head the Office. She herself was a victim of sexual assault in her childhood and knows how such incidents affect a child. She wants to comfort those children who come in to testify. A trained therapy dog is aware of how to react in emotional situations and even calm down a person going through trauma.
Compassion is important on the dog’s part and Foxx is confident that this black Labrador is the perfect one for the job.
Hatty will work 9-to-5 schedules and will be tackling 150-200 cases a year. She will be appearing in court about two times each month to provide support to the victims.
Illinois passed legislation in 2016 allowing children and developmentally disable sexual assault victims to be accompanied by a therapy dog during the trial.
Therapy dogs are helping thousands of trauma victims around the globe and making their lives a little better. They perform their duties with utmost sincerity and are the most well-behaved doggos around. We are sure Hatty the black Labrador too would help the victims navigate the hard times better. All the best Hatty!