Twitter | @SAKimFoxx

Hatty The Lab Is Here To Comfort Kids Who Have To Testify In Court

ryan.ford 6 Nov 2019

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office in Illinois's newest member will play a critical role in comforting some particularly vulnerable people, and from the looks of it, she'll be popular for public relations as well.

Hatty, a two-year-old Labrador retriever, was sworn in as an official member of the team in a ceremony recently.

She got up on her hind legs, placed a paw on a law book, and remained calm and steady as an oath was recited. Just like that, Hatty was part of the team.

"We're excited to welcome Hatty to our team where she will provide comfort and peace to victims during one of the most difficult times in their lives," Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx told CNN.

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This extremely good girl has an important job.

Twitter | @SAKimFoxx

Hatty will work as a comfort dog for kids who are victims of sexual assault. "She's going to come help us with our victims and witnesses that may have some anxiety, trepidation, or nervousness about coming to court," Foxx explained to WLS-TV.

"What we're trying to do overall is make that experience more therapeutic for the people that come before us."

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So, she'll be alongside those vulnerable victims and witnesses when they take the stand or during interviews.

Twitter | @SAKimFoxx

And that's something Foxx knows kids in these situations will need from her own experience. "I can tell you, for years I carried that trauma with me," she said. "So imagine coming to an institution where you don't know the people and it's not just a welcoming place. [I want] to bring that experience I've had to try to figure out how we can lessen that anxiety for others."

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"It means the world, because these are very difficult cases," said Assistant State's Attorney Jillian Anselmo.

Twitter | @SAKimFoxx

"It empowers these children to take that stand and tell the truth."

"I just really hope that it makes these children feel more comfortable, and build a quicker rapport and immediate rapport that we as humans, and specialists, and attorneys can't necessarily build as quickly as Hatty might be able to," added Stephanie Coelho, a sexual assault victim witness specialist.

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Sadly, Hatty can expect a pretty busy workload.

Working a regular 9-5 day, she'll be expected to handle up to 200 cases a year, and appear in court alongside victims twice a month.

However, knowing that she's on the team is already a big deal. "She's comfort for these kids to feel safe, and know they're in a safe space, and know that Hatty's keeping them safe," Coelho said.

h/t: WLS-TV, CNN

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