KITCHENER -- The Waterloo Regional Police Service will now offer a therapy dog program to help people who are victims of crime.

The program is through a partnership with St. John Ambulance.

“This partnership will provide a professional, knowledgeable, compassionate and inclusive approach to helping victims and survivors of crime,” Deputy Chief Shirley Hilton said in a news release. “Every individual experiences the impact of crime differently and it’s essential they have a safe, secure, caring, inclusive, supportive and non-judgmental environment to share these experiences. Therapy dogs can have positive benefits for persons who have experienced trauma.”

The program includes nine therapy dogs and handlers. They'll be available daily from 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. to victims and survivors of trafficking and sexual offences.

They were sworn in at a ceremony at police headquarters.

“Our members and therapy dogs are specially trained to help relieve some of the enormous stress that these individuals endure," John Prno of St. John Ambulance said in the release.

All dogs and handlers are volunteers as part of the community-based service.