One in three women delays leaving family violence situations due to concerns about leaving their pets behind, according to recent research.
The link between family violence and animal abuse is well recognised through tools such as the Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) and the Victoria Police Code of Practice for Investigating Family Violence. Threatening to harm or kill pets is a method used by some violent men as a means to control their partners.
Given the evidence, there is a clear need to protect pets and to address women’s concerns. A Merri Health project is working with councils across the Northern Metropolitan Region to improve responses to pet safety in the context of family violence.
Moreland City Council has already recognised the need for alternatives in their Domestic Animal Management Plan 2013–2017, which states that the council offers free housing for animals where this is needed to support a woman leaving violence.
WHIN’s NIFVS Coordination Team is supporting the project by providing training on animal abuse in the the context of family violence to all Animal Management teams in these local councils.