The link between animal abuse and family violence has long been recognised. Pets—including dogs, cats and other animals—are often regarded as ‘members of the family’. Threatening to harm or kill pets is a method used by some violent men as a means to control their partners. According to a recent study, one in three women who had experienced violence from a partner had delayed leaving their partner because of fear for a pet’s safety. Animal abuse is also a known family violence risk indicator. A woman whose partner has threatened to abuse pets is five times more likely to experience family violence. The Victoria Police Code of Practice for Investigating Family Violence and the Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) used by family violence workers in Victoria both recognise pet abuse as increasing a woman’s risk of being seriously harmed or killed.
(Source: Councils preventing violence against women - Responding to family violence: The role of council animal management Information Sheet[i])
The seven Northern Metropolitan Regional Councils are working together to improve services and access for keeping pets safe in the context of family violence. Specialised training with a pet focus is being offered to all Animal Management Teams in these local councils. This training will offer you insights into how to identify family violence, how this may influence the decisions you need to make in regard to animal management in these situations, how and when to involve the police, and how to respond to women who are experiencing family violence.
Victoria Police Family Violence Response Teams will be in attendance to answer some of your questions.
We are also anticipating improved communication streams between the seven council teams in relation to problem solving placement options for pets who need to be accommodated both short term and longer term.
To allow for optimum attendance, we are offering two sessions:
October 25th and November 17th.
- 9:15 – registration and coffee/tea
- 9:30 am – 2:00 pm Training
Morning tea and lunch will be provided
The training will focus on:
- What is family violence? Definition and Causes
- Legal Context
- Animal abuse in the context of family violence
- Your role in identifying and responding
- Risk assessment, safety planning