A Dubai foundation has started a programme to help survivors of abuse using animal therapy.
People under care of the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children will spend time with the animals, it was announced at Expo 2020.
Horses, dogs, rabbits, fish, and birds will be used in the programme to help rehabilitate survivors, alongside traditional therapy sessions.
“This unique therapy programme can complement or even replace the traditional psychotherapy sessions,” said Sheikha Al Mansouri, acting director-general of Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.
Dubai Police’s K-9 unit will also help.
The police force's Al Marmoom Initiative, which provides horse riding and farming classes for people with disabilities, will support the programme.
The programme is sponsored by Himalaya Global Management Limited, a health and personal care company, and supported by The American Wellness Centre, and Posh Paws Pets Nursery and Trading.
“It is known that this sort of therapy improves people’s social performance, their psychological and adaptive functioning, especially if they have been through trauma,” said Ms Al Mansouri.
Victims of critical cases who show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression, will be prioritised for the programme.
Sessions will take place at the premises of the foundation, and at Dubai Police centres, farms and stables.
“Our goal is to develop new and innovative ways to support victims, improve their adaptive and interactive abilities and help them build healthy and positive relationships with others,” Ms Al Mansouri said.
The progress of the victims will be observed to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme.