Addressing the Link between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse
The National Link Coalition, an organization compiled of advocates who work towards ending violence against people and animals, refers to animal abuse as the “tip of the iceberg” in reference to other forms of violence and abuse. In fact, research indicates that in homes where animal abuse is present, it is highly likely that child, elder, or domestic abuse is also occurring.
Similar research revealed that nearly half of female survivors reported that they were unable to escape their abusive partners because they were concerned about their pets’ well-being if they left. Additionally, 52% of survivors who left, and were residing within a shelter, reported that they had to leave their pets behind in order to get to safety. Further, children who are exposed to animal abuse and domestic violence are more likely to perpetrate the same forms of violence when they become adults. By acknowledging the existence of animal abuse in relation to interpersonal violence, a significant piece of a survivor’s experience is recognized, which brings us one step closer to breaking this cycle of abuse.
DASACC is committed to ending domestic violence, within our own community and beyond, and we understand the meaningful bond that is shared between a person and their pet. Pets often bring comfort, safety, and love to their human companions, which can be extremely beneficial to individuals who are healing from the impacts of experiencing domestic violence.
To ensure that DASACC was meeting the needs of every survivor, the agency secured a grant through RedRover in November 2018. These funds allowed for the development of appropriate and safe housing for survivors residing in the 24/7 emergency shelter and their beloved pets. The custom built animal kennels were installed in August of 2019.
In continuing to acknowledge all survivors of domestic abuse, and in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, DASACC is hosting a 2nd annual Safer in Warren County Dog Walk at Meadow Breeze Park in Washington, New Jersey. Registration begins at 10:30am and the walk begins at 11:00am. Please join us as we walk to end all forms of interpersonal violence.
Did You Know?
· New Jersey is 1 of 34 states that permit survivors to include their pets as protective parties on restraining orders.
· Several states also include animal abuse within their legal definition of domestic violence.
· The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act was introduced in 2017 and was signed into law in 2019. The PAWS Act provides grants to domestic violence shelters, allows pets to be included under federal stalking laws, and orders perpetrators of domestic violence to pay full restitution for veterinary and pet care costs.
· Safe Place for Pets provides an online directory of safe housing available to survivors and their pets nearest their location. https://safeplaceforpets.org/
· Animal abuse is a mandated report for veterinarians and child protection workers in several states.