UK prison uses dog therapy to tackle mental health problems
December 19, 2018
By: Jenna Rachid
Assistance dogs have a proven record of promoting positive behaviours, reducing stress, as we’ll as enhancing social skills, self-esteem and confidence. It is hoped that this project will go some way in helping inmates overcome addictions and mental health issues, ITV News reports.
The prisons newest recruit, four month old Labrador Jingles, has been welcomed on the wards as part of this new initiative.
Richard Taylor, Governor of HM Prison Magilligan, told ITV: ‘Many of those people who come into our care have mental health and addiction issues, and with numerous pieces of research highlighting the therapeutic benefits of animals it made perfect sense for us to work alongside Assistance Dogs NI.
‘Together we are supporting and challenging prisoners in our care as part of the commitment to reduce re-offending and help build a safer community.’
Counselling services in the UK are unable to keep up with the ‘unprecedented demand,’ with victims of sexual assault waiting up to 14 months for support.
According to the Independent, a report for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Sexual Violence said ‘specific support services for victims could cease to exist due to a simultaneous lack of funding and a rise in the number of people needing help.’
78,461 individuals used Rape Crisis services in 2017/18, a 17% increase from the previous year. With 6,355 victims on Rape Crisis waiting lists for up to 14 months in the same year, the APPG are calling for ‘urgent action’ to be taken ‘to prevent the destruction of the specialist sexual violence and abuse sector.’
Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham and chair of the APPG on Sexual Violence, said: ‘It should be a government priority to sort out the funding of these vital services with great urgency or it will miss its own target. The needs of survivors of sexual violence and abuse should be a priority.’
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