“The animals are all I have”

Domestic Violence, Companion Animals, and Veterinarians

In: Society & Animals
View More View Less
  • 1 Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, School of Veterinary Science University of Queensland, Gatton, Queensland, Australia
  • 2 School of Social Work and Human Services, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Abstract

This article describes a study of thirteen women who had lived with companion animals during a domestic violence relationship. The women were interviewed in order to investigate how animals were affected by the violence, as well as how veterinarians were involved. Most women reported that companion animals had been abused or neglected by their partners, and they had delayed leaving due to concerns for animals left in the home. Affected animals most commonly demonstrated protection of the woman, and avoidance or aggression towards the partner. Only one woman confided to a veterinarian that she and her animals were living with domestic violence, and in four cases women’s partners had prevented them from accessing veterinary care. It is recommended that veterinarians are educated on issues regarding animal guardianship during domestic violence to enhance their ability to provide knowledgeable and compassionate support when confronted with these cases in practice.

  • Adams, C. J. (1995). Woman-battering and harm to animals. In C. J. Adams & J. Donovan (Eds.), Animals and women: Feminist theoretical explorations (pp. 55-84). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Alston, M., & Bowles, W. (2003). Research for social workers: An introduction to methods (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

  • Ascione, F. R. (1998). Battered women’s reports of their partners’ and their children’s cruelty to animals. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 1, 119-133.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ascione, F. R., Weber, C. V., Thompson, T. M., Heath, J., Maruyama, M., & Hayashi, K. (2007). Battered pets and domestic violence: Animal abuse reported by women experiencing intimate violence and by nonabused women. Violence Against Women, 13, 354-373.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics. (1996). Women’s safety Australia 1996. Catalogue no. 4128.0. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4128.0/.

    • Export Citation
  • Australian Companion Animal Council. (2006). Contribution of the petcare industry to the Australian economy (6th ed.). St Leonards, NSW: Australian Companion Animal Council, Inc.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Australian Veterinary Association. (2012). Code of professional conduct. Australian Veterinary Association Ltd. Retrieved from http://www.ava.com.au/conduct.

    • Export Citation
  • Carlisle-Frank, P., & Flanagan, T. (2006). Silent victims: Recognizing and stopping abuse of the family pet. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carlisle-Frank, P., Frank, J. M., & Nielsen, L. (2004). Selective battering of the family pet. Anthrozoos, 17, 26-42.

  • Casey, R. (2002). Fear and stress. In D. Horwitz, D. Mills, & S. Heath (Eds.), BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioural Medicine (pp. 144-153). Quedgeley, Gloucester: British Small Animal Veterinary Association.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, S. (2002). Can pets function as family members? Western Journal of Nursing Research, 24, 621-628.

  • Council of Australian Governments. (2011). The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. Council of Australian Governments, Australia. Retrieved from http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_ 2012/national_plan.pdf.

    • Export Citation
  • Currie, C. L. (2006). Animal cruelty by children exposed to domestic violence. Child Abuse and Neglect, 30, 425-435.

  • Dobash, R. E., & Dobash, R. (1979). Violence against wives: A case against the patriarchy. New York: The Free Press.

  • Dutton, D. G. (1995). The domestic assault of women; psychological and criminal justice perspectives. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.

  • Ellsberg, M. C., & Heise, L. (2005). Researching violence against women: A practical guide for researchers and activists. Washington, D.C.: World Health Organization.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fantuzzo, J., DePaola, L., & Lambert, L. (1991). Effects of interparental violence on the psychological adjustment and competencies of young children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59, 258-265.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fauchier, A. (2008). Intergenerational transmission of violence. In C. M. Renzetti & J. L. Edleson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of interpersonal violence (Vols. 1-2). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Faver, C. A., & Strand, E. B. (2003). To leave or to stay?: Battered women’s concern for vulnerable pets. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18, 1367-1377.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Faver, C. A., & Strand, E. B. (2007). Fear, guilt, and grief: Harm to pets and the emotional abuse of women. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 7(1), 51-70.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Flynn, C. (2009). Women-battering, pet abuse, and human-animal relationships. In A. Linzey (Ed.), The link between animal abuse and human violence (pp. 116-125). Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Flynn, C. P. (2000). Battered women and their animal companions: Symbolic interaction between human and nonhuman animals. Society & Animals, 8, 99-127.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Green, P. C., & Gullone, E. (2005). Knowledge and attitudes of Australian veterinarians to animal abuse and human interpersonal violence. Australian Veterinary Journal, 83, 619-625.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Griffin, B., & Hume, K. R. (2006). Recognition and management of stress in housed cats. In J. R. August (Ed.), Consultations in feline internal medicine (pp. 717-734). St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hardesty, J. L., Khaw, L., Ridgway, M. D., Weber, C., & Miles, T. (2013). Coercive control and abused women’s decisions about their pets when seeking shelter. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(13), 2617-2639.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harne, L. (2011). Violent Fathering and the risks to children: The need for change. Bristol, UK: The Policy Press.

  • Herzog, H. A., Betchart, N. S., & Pittman, R. B. (1991). Gender, sex role orientation and attitudes towards animals. Anthrozoos, 4, 184-191.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hlavka, H. R., Kruttschnitt, C., & Carbone-López (2007). Revictimizing the victims?: Interviewing women about interpersonal violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 894-920.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Humphreys, C. (2006). Relevant evidence for practice. In C. Humphreys & N. Stanley (Eds.), Domestic Violence and child protection: Directions for good practice (pp. 19-35). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jaffe, P. G., Wolfe, D. A., & Wilson, S. K. (1990). Children of battered women. London: Sage Publications.

  • Kaufman, J., & Zigler, E. (1993). The intergenerational transmission of abuse is overstated. In R. J. Gelles & D. R. Loseke (Eds.), Current controversies on family violence (pp. 209-221). Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • La Rooy, D., Katz, C., Malloy, L. C. & Lamb, M. E. (2010). Do we need to rethink guidance on repeated interviews? Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 16 (4) 373-392.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Landau, R. E. (1999). A survey of teaching and implementation: The veterinarian’s role in recognizing and reporting abuse. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 215(3), 328-331.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Langeland, W., & Dijkstra, S. (1995). Breaking the intergenerational transmission of child abuse: beyond the mother-child relationship. Child Abuse Review, 4(1), 4-13.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Loring, M. T., & Bolden-Hines, T. A. (2004). Pet abuse by batterers as a means of coercing battered women into committing illegal behaviour. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 4(1), 27-37.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McGee, C. (2000). Childhood experiences of domestic violence. London: Jessica Kingsley.

  • Mouzos, J., & Makkai, T. (2004). Women’s experiences of male violence: Findings from the Australian component of the International Violence against Women Survey. Research and Public Policy Series no. 56. Canberra, Australia: Australian Institute of Criminology.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mullender, A., Hague, G., Imam, U., Kelly, L., Malos, E., & Regan, L. (2002). Children’s perspectives on domestic violence. London: SAGE Publications.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Muller, R. T., Hunter, J. E., & Stollak, G. (1995). The intergenerational transmission of corporal punishment: A comparison of social learning and temperament models. Child Abuse and Neglect, 19(11), 1323-1335.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Phillips, A. (2017). SAF-T Shelters updated February 2017. Retrieved from http://alliephillips.com/saf-tprogram/saf-t-shelters/.

    • Export Citation
  • Phillips, C., Izmirli, S., Aldavood, J., Alonso, M., Choe, B., Hanlon, A., … Rehn, T. (2011). An international comparison of female and male students’ attitudes to the use of animals. Animals, 1, 7-26.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roguski, M. (2012). Pets as pawns: The co-existence of animal cruelty and family violence. Kaiitiaki Research and Evaluation, New Zealand: Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Animals and The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RSPCA. (2012). RSPCA Australia national statistics 2011-2012. Retrieved from http://www.rspca.org.au/assets/files/Resources/AnnualStatistics/RSPCA%20Australia%20National%20Statistics%202011-2012.pdf.

    • Export Citation
  • Shepard, M., & Pence, E. (Eds.). (1999). Coordinating community responses to domestic violence: Lessons from Duluth and beyond. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sherman, B. L., & Mills, D. S. (2008). Canine anxieties and phobias: An update on separation anxiety and noise aversions. Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice, 38, 1081-1106.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Simmons, C. A., & Lehmann, P. (2007). Exploring the link between pet abuse and controlling behaviours in violent relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 1211-1222.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stark, E. (2007). Coercive control: How men entrap women in personal life. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Strand, E. B., & Faver, C. A. (2005). Battered women’s concern for their pets: A closer look. Journal of Family Social Work, 9, 39-58.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, N. (2013). Humans, animals, and society—an introduction to human-animal studies. New York: Lantern books.

  • Tiplady, C. M., Walsh, D. B., & Phillips, C. J. C. (2012). Intimate partner violence and companion animal welfare. Australian Veterinary Journal, 90, 48-53.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Volant, A. M., Johnson, J. A., Gullone, E., & Coleman, G. J. (2008). The relationship between domestic violence and animal abuse: An Australian study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23, 1277-1295.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wallace, P. (2010). Anonymity and confidentiality. In A. J. Mills, G. Durepos, & E. Wiebe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of case study research. (pp. 23-25). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walton-Moss, B. J., Manganello, J., Frye, V., & Campbell, J. C. (2005). Risk factors for intimate partner violence and associated injury among urban women. Journal of Community Health, 30, 377-389.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wearing, B. (1996). Gender: The pain and pleasure of difference. Melbourne, Australia: Addison Wesley Longman Australia Pty Ltd.

  • York, M. R. (2011). Gender attitudes and violence against women (E-book). Retrieved from http://uql.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.library.uq.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1057880.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zuckerman, B., Augustyn, M., Groves, B., & Parker, S. (1995). Silent victims revised: The special case of domestic violence. Pediatrics, 96, 511-513.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 643 384 35
Full Text Views 269 48 2
PDF Downloads 75 42 2