Support dogs to accompany victims at Quebec's specialized sexual violence courts

Some Quebec domestic assault and sexual violence victims will be able to be accompanied by a support dog during their court appearances.

Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette says a pilot project is being launched in collaboration with a guide dog training foundation and the province's crime victims assistance group.

Support dogs will accompany those appearing in the province's specialized courts, recently created to handle sexual violence and domestic assault cases.

Jolin-Barrette says the animals' presence aims to comfort victims and help them feel more confident and safe as they navigate the legal process.

The courts are located in Quebec City, Beauharnois and Bedford in the Montérégie region; Drummond in the Centre-du-Québec region and Saint-Maurice in the Mauricie area.

Last year, the Quebec legislature adopted a bill to create the specialized tribunals, which are designed to offer a supportive environment to victims who come forward to denounce their alleged abusers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022.

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