Exploring the impact of specially trained dogs on the court experiences of survivors of sexual offending in England and Wales: an exploratory case study

Journal article


Spruin, L., Ozcakir Mozova, K., Dempster, T. and Mitchell, S. 2019. Exploring the impact of specially trained dogs on the court experiences of survivors of sexual offending in England and Wales: an exploratory case study. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research. pp. 1-27. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10610-019-09419-1
AuthorsSpruin, L., Ozcakir Mozova, K., Dempster, T. and Mitchell, S.
Abstract

The current research explored the impact of specially trained dogs on the experiences of survivors of sexual offending in an English and Welsh court environment. In total, five cases of survivors of sexual offences were provided with a specially trained dog during court proceedings. In each case, data were collected from several sources, including interviews, observations and various documentations.

Using a thorough multiple case study design, data were analysed both within and across each case to identify any individual and thematic patterns. The within-case analysis found that the dog aided survivors in becoming calmer and less anxious. The across-case analysis indicated five reoccurring themes pertaining to the survivor: (1) Impact of court context,
(2) Emotional impact of dog on survivors,
(3) Physical impact of dog on survivors,
(4) Change in anchoring due to presence of the dog,
(5) The uniqueness of a dog as a companion.

The findings also highlighted important considerations when utilising such services to support survivors at court. Overall, these results identified a large amount of benefits to not only the survivors, but also their families and other supporting individuals, providing the first global evaluation of such service for survivors of sexual offending which should aid in considering the introduction of this service internationally. It is thus recommended that the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales explores the use of this service further.

KeywordsTrained dogs; Service dogs; Survivors of sexual offending
Year2019
JournalEuropean Journal on Criminal Policy and Research
Journal citationpp. 1-27
PublisherSpringer
ISSN0928-1371
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10610-019-09419-1
Official URLhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s10610-019-09419-1
Publication dates
Online16 Jul 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Jul 2019
AcceptedJun 2019
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/88zzz/exploring-the-impact-of-specially-trained-dogs-on-the-court-experiences-of-survivors-of-sexual-offending-in-england-and-wales-an-exploratory-case-study

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