Domestic Violence Prevention Month

Please be advised this article contains descriptions of violence and abuse against animals and people. If you are experiencing violence and need help you can call:

1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for 24/7 counselling, information and support OR

NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 65 64 63 for 24/7 information and support

Domestic Violence Prevention Month is held every year in May. At RSPCA NSW, we work to raise community awareness of domestic violence and its impacts and reinforce our message of intolerance towards domestic and family violence (DFV). DFV is a major health and wellbeing issue affecting Australians of all ages and backgrounds. Unbeknownst to many, companion animals can also experience this same abuse.

For many experiencing DFV, animals can be a rare source of comfort, love and safety. They are often valuable members of the family, especially for children experiencing abuse. However, many animals suffer abuse first-hand or are made to witness violence towards their human family.

Companion animals are likely to be present in up to 70% of DFV cases, either as victims of physical violence or the subjects of coercive control. Victim-survivors might delay leaving (or even return to) situations of DFV, afraid of abandoning their animals to further injury or stress.

Far too often, domestic violence and animal welfare issues collide, and the need to accommodate animals in DFV situations occurs.

The RSPCA NSW Domestic Violence Program aims to assist pet owners leaving DFV situations. It offers access to safe crisis accommodation for victim-survivor’s companion animals, allowing them to find refuge for themselves before being reunited with their beloved pet. The aim of the program is to ensure that humans and animals escape violence together. Last financial year alone, RSPCA NSW helped over 105 clients and 139 animals.

Clients of RSPCA NSW Domestic Violence Program work with a case manager who arranges services including:

  • Temporary foster accommodation and/or emergency pet boarding
  • Financial assistance for veterinary treatment
  • Financial assistance with impound fees
  • Practical and financial assistance with transportation

If you or anyone you know is experiencing DFV and has an animal companion involved, you can request assistance here.

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