Never mind that we met two new recruits of the Var gendarmerie. Because Rémus and Everest, in post since the beginning of September at the Family Protection House located in Valletta, are more like walking all four steps than step.
The first was a brave Cavalier King Charles; the second, a loyal Labrador. Both displayed their colors in scarves with the “gendarmerie” stamp.
How many missions? Give confidence to children and adolescents who are received to be interviewed in the context of domestic violence.
“I have seen this done by other viewers and other animals, that it facilitates contact“explained Chief Warrant Officer Isabelle Cano, commander of the Maison des familles, to find solutions to free the voices of young victims or co-victims.”Sometimes it’s very complicated, it can be long and sometimes you don’t get anything from the kids.“
The corridor test
A few weeks after the arrival of the two dogs, experiment so far, the results are “very conclusive“, assured the commander.
“Sometimes children come holding their parents. From now on, welcomed from the police station by one or the other of the two dogs, they are immediately more confident, reassured. They think of the animal rather than the police.“
The dog will then stay with the minor in the waiting room, full of toys, stuffed animals, color, then accompany him to the hearing room. The difficulty of crossing the corridor, which is quite cold while waiting for a fresco to illuminate it, is thus less cruel.
Remus and Everest, on the other hand, will not attend the audition, so that it can take place without interruption. “We just tell the kids that they’ll find it later and, that too, it makes them feel better“, continued Chief Warrant Officer Cano. Giving their testimony is that it is not very difficult, the work of the gendarmes is not very complicated.
Tested by a dog trainer
During this time, the dogs stay in the waiting room where the companions also benefit from their presence. They are also happy to release a little pressure.
If Remus and Everest were chosen for this mission, thanks to their qualities: affectionate, sociable, calm. But the Var gendarmerie was not satisfied with this observation.
“They were tested by a dog trainer“, lined up the commander of the House to protect families. The specialist who confirmed the capacities of the two dogs to work with children.
Of course, the presence of animals is not systematic: it is suggested to accompany people when the hearing is planned. “The children were asked if they agreed and if they wanted a big or small dog.“There is no question that scares them more!
Soon a third recruit
However, they were not particularly captured: Everest belonged to the gendarme Nathalie Ducrocq, staff member of the Maison des familles, while Rémus was the dog of Colonel Guillaume Dinh, boss of the gendarmes of the Var.
It is not necessary under these conditions to release a specific budget, their owners to take care of their needs.
In addition, the team had to expand soon with the arrival of Rondelle, Chief Warrant Officer Cano’s little dachshund.
Over 600 children have auditioned since opening in March 2021
Created in March 2021, the Family Protection House is a unit of the Var gendarmerie dedicated to domestic violence.
Its construction meets the objectives set, in 2019, by Grenelle on domestic violence. Therefore, the gendarmes who work there interview minor victims of physical, verbal and moral violence, but children are also now considered victims of violence in their homes. A mission that once fell to the juvenile protection brigade in Bandol
In 2021, five gendarmes specially trained for these hearings interviewed 307 minors, some of them almost 2 and a half or 3 years old. Sometimes for the old truths, which prove the freedom of speech.
This year, 297 children auditioned. A figure that has already told the commander of the Maison des familles, Chief Warrant Officer Isabelle Cano, that the number of testimonies collected should exceed 2021.