Therapy Dog Helping Victims of Physical and Sexual Abuse
Cali works with Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Cranston Police to help children who are abused or have gone through some type of trauma.
We first introduced you to Cali back in November, when the Cranston Police Department announced a first of its kind collaboration with Habsro Children's Hospital.
The 1-year-old Australian Labradoodle spends half of her time with Cranston Police Detective Michael Iacone with the Special Victims Unit. The other half with Doctor Christine Barron at Hasbro's Aubin Child Protection Program. Together they work as a team, helping victims of sexual and physical abuse open up.
“Just getting a kid to talk to a stranger is a tough task but with Cali is there they are on the ground with her interacting and playing and it kind of just takes their mind off it a little bit and it makes it a little easier to speak with us about what happened, “ says Cranston Detective Iacone.
Since joining the team, Cali has helped hundreds of children talk about their traumatic experience. “We have actually had some cases of some kids really struggle with their interviews and when Cali is there they are actually able to open up, “ says Dr. Barron.
As part of her job, Cali is paired with a victim from the time of their initial contact with police, through the investigation, including medical examinations and even courtroom testimony. “The difference Cali has made when we are seeing patients and their family and believe it or not... even our staff has been remarkable, “ says Dr. Barron.
Staff embers like Christine Andrews, a third year resident physician at the Aubin Child Protection Center, who deals with difficult cases every day.
“To have Cali greet me really changes the ambiance of the clinic for me, “ says Andrews.
Cali, a new and valuable tool in Rhode Island, helping to crack cases and comforting some of the state's youngest victims. “I think times have changed we have become more victim friendly we have to do more things for the victims so I think we are going to start to see it evolve, “ adds Cranston Detective Iacone.