The Montana Board of Crime Control (MBCC) announced today the recipient of its Fall 2016 Program Highlight. The Program Highlight honors statewide or community-based criminal justice programs that merit recognition for providing effective services to address public safety-related issues. The Musselshell/Golden Valley Victim/Witness Assistance Program-Survivor Assistance Dog, Pyper was selected to receive the award.
The Musselshell/Golden Valley/Witness Assistance Program was created in 2007 to provide comfort and reduce a victim’s anxiety, resulting in more accurate interviews, improved interaction with both prosecution and defense, and reduced stress for victims of violent crime as they prepare to testify in court. The human-animal bond is strong and evidence of its power is being seen in medical and law enforcement offices throughout the country. Pyper’s presence in the court room and with victims creates a more humane and efficient system that enables all to accomplish their work in a more positive and constructive manner. Since 2010, Pyper has attended over 25 forensic interviews with children, attended nine rape examinations with adult victims, attended 11 emergency medical treatments after victimization and has attended court hearings with 22 child victims. In addition, she has logged hundreds of hours in the courtroom attending arraignments, change of plea hearings and sentencing hearings. Pyper is available to every agency throughout Montana and routinely travels to assist victims as they prepare to testify in court.
Deb Matteucci, Executive director of MBCC stated, “We are so pleased to honor and recognize the Musselshell/Golden Valley Victim/Witness Assistance Program and Pyper today. Pyper’s presence in the courtroom helps to provide comfort to victims throughout a difficult, stressful and sometimes frightening process. I hope that all jurisdictions might one day have access to this important resource.”
The program will be featured at the MBCC Board of Directors Meeting scheduled in Helena on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 and will be recognized at the 10th Annual Crime Prevention Conference held in October in Billings. Tami Allen, Victim/Witness Advocate from Musselshell/Golden Valley Victim/Witness Program will provide an overview of the program for the Board of Directors.
The Montana Board of Crime Control (MBCC) is the designated state agency that administers millions of grant dollars dedicated to preventing and addressing crime statewide. MBCC is headed by an eighteen member board appointed by the Governor. Board members represent law enforcement, criminal and juvenile justice system stakeholders, and citizens, including the first Montanans, our state’s Native Americans.