Researchers find link between animal abuse and intimate partner violence
Cat Protection-funded research published in the journal Aggression and Violent Behaviour has shed light on the link between intimate partner violence and animal abuse. The systematic review of 30 studies looked at the association between animal abuse and intimate partner violence, the motivation for targeting animals, and the impact animal abuse has on victim survivors.
Professor Michelle Cleary led the research team which included Deependra K. Thapa, Sancia West, Mark Westman and Rachel Kornhaber. Professor Cleary explains: “(The study found) that animal abuse is used to exert control, to intimidate, to retaliate, to upset and in revenge; and that animal abuse affects a person’s decision to leave the abusive relationship and seek support.”
The research gathers existing literature on this topic and points to clear pathways for future research, and practical implications for practitioners such as police, vets and any professionals working in the field to eliminate violence. Though Cat Protection are not practitioners in this field, we took away some lessons on just how important pet-friendly accommodation is to those trying to leave domestic violence. As Dr Mark Westman observes, “the thing that will make the most difference is more pet-friendly accommodation – in refuges, shelters and rentals.” We remain committed to working with the community and policy makers to improve the availability of pet-friendly accommodation.
Cat Protection is proud to have contributed to this important research and will continue to support those researchers whose work benefits cats and the people who care for and love them. We extend our deep gratitude to the researchers who have illuminated the human-animal bond and thank all Cat Protection’s members. We especially thank and remember those kind-hearted men and women who have left a legacy to the cats allowing us to continue our important mission.
The nature of the research means that animal abuse and intimate partner violence are discussed in some detail, so please be aware of the distressing nature of the material in the article. If this raises any concerns for you, please contact 1800 RESPECT for information and support.
“Animal abuse in the context of adult intimate partner violence: A systematic review” is an open access article and freely available to read online.