National Crime Victim Law Institute
Facilitating Access to Justice: Courthouse Dogs’ Emerging Role in the Criminal Justice System
Date: November 21 2013 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Many victims find participation in the criminal justice process to be stressful; for some, it can be traumatizing. Polyvictims may experience concerns about participating in a criminal prosecution in a heightened manner because of previous victimization. All victims deserve to access justice in a way that does not inflict additional harm, and a number of tools and strategies are being employed nationwide to assist victims to more safely and easily access justice.
NCVLI’s Rebecca Khalil J.D. and Courthouse Dogs Foundation are partnering to present this webinar, which examines in detail the valuable assistance that facility dogs can provide to victims in connection with the criminal justice process. Professionally trained courthouse dogs are currently working throughout the country in prosecutors’ offices and child advocacy centers to assist crime victims during the course of criminal justice proceedings. As legally neutral companions for individuals—including victims—in the investigation and prosecution of crime, facility dogs can have a dramatic impact on the ability of victims to participate in the criminal justice process.
This webinar will provide valuable information to prosecuting attorneys, victims’ rights attorneys, victim advocates, forensic interviewers, and law enforcement officers about the selection and use of facility dogs, as well as explain how facility dogs can help minimize the risk of secondary victimization resulting from participation in criminal proceedings and increase victims’ satisfaction with the criminal justice process, both of which facilitate victims’ access to justice and may result in more successful prosecution of crime.
- ABOUT OUR PRESENTERS -
Celeste Walsen, DVM
Dr. Walsen is the Executive Director of Courthouse Dogs Foundation. In that capacity, she works with criminal justice facilities to teach staff members the practicalities of using professionally-trained assistance dogs for a range of victim/witness services and programs. Dr. Walsen speaks widely around the United States and in other countries about courthouse dogs, and has assisted numerous agencies in developing protocols for successful programs. Dr. Walsen holds a BA in Psychology from the University of California Berkeley and a DVM from Louisiana State University.
Ellen O’Neill-Stephens, J.D.
Ms. O’Neill-Stephens worked as a deputy prosecuting attorney at the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Seattle, Washington for 26 years. In 2003 she pioneered the use of dogs that are graduates of service dog organizations to provide emotional support to everyone in the criminal justice system. As a result of her leadership there are now dozens of courthouse dogs working throughout the United States, Chile, and Canada. In 2012 she founded Courthouse Dogs Foundation to educate legal professionals and promote best practices for the use of these dogs during the investigation and prosecution of crimes. In 2013, Oprah Magazine named Ellen a “local hero” for her efforts to “bring calm to the courtroom.” Ellen received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and was a juvenile probation officer before entering law school.
This webinar was produced by NCVLI under 2012-VF-GX-KO13, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.