Spearheaded by the national campaign UK SAYS NO MORE, No More Week (5-10 March, 2023) is a week to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence in the United Kingdom and in the US and the World.
There is a strong link between violence to animals and violence towards people, and an abused or neglected pet can be an indicator of domestic violence, spousal or child abuse, or neglect.
Victims of domestic violence are reluctant to leave behind their beloved pets, especially as they have often been the victim’s only source of comfort or protection and abusers will often threaten (and carry out) harm towards their victim’s pet.
Helping pets is also about helping people and families.
SCAS Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Ormerod, recently co-authored a paper on, The links between animal cruelty and family violence. Studies have shown that the majority of domestic violence survivors report keeping pets with them is an important factor in deciding whether to seek shelter. 50% would not even consider leaving without their pet.
In the UK, both Cats Protection and Dogs Trust help families to escape domestic abuse by providing temporary foster care for the pets of these families.
Cats Protection runs the Paws Protect fostering service for families fleeing domestic abuse, which places cats into safe foster homes until the family is settled into a permanent home.
Similarly, Dogs Trust have the Freedom Project which places victim’s pets with a fosterer while they’re staying at a refuge that doesn’t cater for pets.
The UK Links Group aims to raise awareness of the link between the abuse of people and animals through support, training and inter-agency working. Their website also has links to pet fostering resources and advice on where to go to for help.
In the US, PetSmart Charities, in partnership with non-profits RedRover and Greater Good Charities, has pledged $2.25 million over the next three years to an initiative aimed at protecting domestic abuse survivors and their pets The funding will ensure 25 percent of sheltering facilities are pet-friendly by 2025.
Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T)® is a global initiative helping domestic violence shelters to create on-site pet housing for families fleeing violence. This includes helping domestic violence shelters to implement on-site pet housing programs.
Follow the hashtag #WhatICanDo on social media to show how each one of us can play a significant part role in preventing domestic and sexual violence.