Introducing Armstrong, a remarkable court dog who spreads compassion and support at the North Shore District Court. Armstrong’s role is to work with vulnerable youth and adults, providing a reassuring presence during pivotal moments of sentencing and evidence-giving, whether it’s through CCTV or in the courtroom itself. His primary objective is to ensure that victims feel safe and supported throughout their journey.

    As victims arrive at the court building, they are asked if they are okay with Armstrong greeting them, and when he does it fosters

    an immediate connection. Together, they confidently navigate the corridors, with Armstrong becoming their focal point, diverting attention away from any potential anxieties surrounding being in a stressful environment. Victims appreciate his calming presence, even during breaks in the courtroom.

    In the office, Armstrong and his team warmly greet victims and witnesses, creating a comforting atmosphere. They always check with people if they’re comfortable with Armstrong approaching them, and so far, there have been no refusals. It is worth noting that the police often bring witnesses to the office, and Armstrong is always introduced to them, providing an extra source of comfort and support.

    Armstrong also makes his way through the court foyer, where his friendly face never fails to brighten the day of staff, customers, and prosecutors. He greatly appreciates the gestures of warmth and support he receives, creating an atmosphere of welcome and reassurance.

    Throughout the challenging process of giving evidence, Armstrong remains by the side of the individual, offering a calming influence during these vulnerable moments. He is also skilled at providing a cuddle when someone needs one, providing practical help and emotional support.

    The goal is for victims to leave the court with a lasting memory of Armstrong’s support, overshadowing any other recollections of the day. Within the court environment, Armstrong is adored by all. He takes time to visit the judges and other members of the District Court Team, bringing a smile to everyone’s faces as he walks around the building.

    Everyone is continually amazed by the positive impact Armstrong has had in such a short time. He understands the importance of waiting until it is confirmed that it is okay for him to be with the victim. Just the mere presence of a dog has a remarkably calming effect on people.

    At this early stage, no specific requests for Armstrong have been made by judges yet. However, the forensic nurses, police prosecutors, registry staff, and some Family Court employees come to visit Armstrong, even when his team is not present. His presence is truly cherished by everyone.

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