Animal harm linked to domestic abuse in families, warn Crimestoppers as new campaign is launched

Colin Dobinson, Antonia Litten, Katie Walmsley and Laura Howard at the campaign launch in Wethersfie

Colin Dobinson, Antonia Litten, Katie Walmsley and Laura Howard at the campaign launch in Wethersfield. - Credit: Archant

Homes where pets are being harmed are likely to be where humans are suffering too – and vice versa, according to Crimestoppers.

Now vets in Dunmow are being asked to watch pets for signs of domestic abuse.

A new campaign of posters and pocket cards, was launched by Crimestoppers’ Essex committee at the RSPCA’s Danaher Animal Home near Wethersfield.

The charity points to research showing cats and dogs owned by victims of domestic abuse are also at risk and says vets, nurses and receptionists are on the front line in dealing with or identifying cases.

Colin Dobinson, from Crimestoppers, said: “If an animal has suffered abuse or non-accidental injury, it could mean the family is at risk of violence or domestic abuse. Abuse may not be common but it is vital every opportunity is taken to help the victim, human or animal.

“Our pocket guide, along with the Animal Welfare Foundation’s publication Comprehensive Guidance for the Veterinary Team, will help vets take appropriate action when faced with a suspected case of non-accidental injury.”

The campaign is being run with the Links Group, which promotes safety among children, animals and adults, and funded by the Percy Hoskins Award. The initiative has the support of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

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John Kirkman, general manager at RSPCA Danaher Animal Home, said: “Sadly, we see a number of cases where pets have come to us for rehoming because of incidents of abuse.

“A campaign urging vets to be on the lookout for non-accidental injuries has to be welcomed, especially if also helps create awareness of wider domestic violence in the home.”