Help change a life with a gift in your Will

Give the gift of a life-changing Guide Dog to someone with low vision or blindness.

A lady is holding a guide dog.

Help change a life with a gift in your Will

Get your free Gifts in Wills Guide to learn how a gift in your Will can transform lives.

A lady is holding a guide dog.

Help change a life with a gift in your Will

Give the gift of a life-changing Guide Dog to someone with low vision or blindness.

A lady is holding a guide dog. Learn more

Help change a life with a gift in your Will

Get your free Gifts in Wills Guide to learn how a gift in your Will can transform lives.

A lady is holding a guide dog. Get the guide

What is the Canine Court Companion Program?

The Canine Court Companion Program (also referred to as the CCCP) is a community-based initiative by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in partnership with NSW Government, Department of Justice (Victim Services). The program is designed to support victims of crime and ease the stress of attending court.

Our amazing Therapy Dog Teams attend nominated courthouses four days each week for 90 minutes, between 9am and 12pm. During the sessions, victims of crime and court staff can spend time with a specially selected Therapy Dog. Pats and hugs are encouraged; it’s all part of supporting victims of crime to feel more relaxed in a stressful environment!

Therapy Dog Teams offer support in publicly accessible areas of the courthouse, including the foyer and safe room. Therapy Dog Teams may also receive special requests from police or court professionals to assist with people who are especially anxious, or who might benefit from spending time with a Therapy Dog.

a guide dog

What are the benefits?

Interacting with Therapy Dogs is scientifically proven to lower heart rate, increase speech and memory function, and heighten mental clarity.

A recent evaluation of the Program found that ‘96% of engagements with CCCP Therapy Dog Teams were ‘positive’. There’s also plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting their presence! Therapy Dogs have a calming and uplifting effect on victims of crime, as well as court professionals and volunteers, support networks, and the family and friends of people attending court.

three guide dogs

Where is the program available?

Therapy Dog Teams currently visit courthouses in:

  • Manly
  • Gosford
  • Sutherland
  • Burwood
  • Campbelltown
  • Orange
  • Lismore
  • Goulburn
  • Nowra
  • Wagga Wagga

The Canine Court Companion Program may be offered at more locations in the future.

Black Therapy Dog sitting side on, head tilted towards the camera and tongue out.

Volunteer to support the Program

If you’d like to find out more about joining our amazing team of volunteers, please download our CCCP Information Booklet. Please note that all applicants must read the CCCP Information Booklet in its entirety before applying.

To submit your application online please use the CCCP Application Form.

Alternatively, please send your application and CCCP Information Booklet request to Naomi at pat@guidedogs.com.au.

Black Therapy Dog accompanies a handler into a court building.

About our Therapy Dogs

Although Guide Dogs and Therapy Dogs look similar—and both play important roles in supporting the community—they perform their roles in different ways.

Guide Dogs are easily identified by the special Guide Dog harness they wear. When a Guide Dog is wearing a harness, they are ‘on the job’: supporting people with low vision or blindness to navigate the world. Although it can be tough, it’s important not to pat or distract a working Guide Dog. This can create an unsafe environment for both the Guide Dog handler and the Guide Dog.

In contrast, being patted is part of the job description for Therapy Dogs in the Canine Court Companion Program! Their role is to provide comfort and affection for people who would like their company. Canine Court Companion Therapy Dogs wear an orange Therapy Dog vest with the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT logo.

Woman hugging a yellow Therapy Dog.