Trained Dogs Support Women Victims Of Gender-based Violence
A revolutionary project has been implemented for some time with the aim of offering support to women victims of gender violence, the project uses trained dogs in the Psychosocial recovery process of victims. We’ll tell you what it’s about:
This new project is about something innovative called Escan, which offers support to women and minors who are victims of gender violence through the support of trained dogs, who, in addition to keeping them company, also offer them security.
The project offers two defense fronts in the service of women:
- The use of animals as part of recovery therapy, in order to re-create bonds of trust with the institution’s psychological support.
- An effective defense mechanism in case of an imminent attack, although more than a defense, dogs of this class are used to intimidate and so that aggression does not happen.
Due to the success of the program, the possibility of involving it in the Network of Specialized Care Centers for Women Victims of Violence is being considered, and in the next year it could facilitate the possibility of living this experience for more women.
This model was designed mainly for women who have lived experiences of abuse and whose couples have removal orders. In these cases, it is normal for the person to be fearful when going out in public, and the dog is a great stimulus for the person to leave the house.
The dog, an element of strength
The fear is no wonder, as hundreds of women worldwide die at the hands of their partners or family members. Therefore, the dog gives them a kind of fortress so that they can confront the world, with all the dangers that this implies.
Furthermore, therapy involving animals, especially dogs, tends to have a positive affective impact. This implies, in addition to the person’s mental recovery, a series of other benefits, such as performing gratifying activities, an increase in social interaction, among others.
For the application of this therapy to be effective, a group of psychologists and social workers would be in charge of selecting the victims who would receive the treatment, to ensure that the animal does not run any kind of risk.
Dogs will treat people who suffer mainly from episodes of anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, social isolation and dependence.
In addition to having to fit in with the sociological profile, women must have a court decision that places them in the category of victims of gender violence, as well as a removal order for the aggressor, as this is an indicator that the victim really is in danger.
In addition to the psychologists’ consent, the candidates will also be evaluated by dog handlers, who will determine if the person is in a position to establish a human-dog compatibility.
In this program the training of dogs is fundamental, and dogs of ideal breeds for the work of intimidation are selected, but also known for being obedient and loyal.
The training process takes an average of three months, where they are specially trained to obey the verbal orders of the victim. Dogs are taught, in addition to basic commands, those that allow them to act in case their owner is in danger of imminent aggression.
In order to avoid any incident, psychological support is offered to the victim, as the dog is trained to act only as a defense under the victim’s orders.
Thus, the victim will be instructed so that he knows that the dog is not a weapon, but a living being with emotions, that he will reach the last consequences to protect him, but that he must not abuse it.
The main interest of this program is that the victim feels safe enough with their dog to be able to lead a normal life, and that the possible aggressors feel intimidated and, in this way, avoid a situation of violence.