Here’s How You Can Support Victims Of Domestic Violence And Keep Families Together
Domestic violence hurts families and their pets.
In many cases, women in domestic violence situations feel afraid or unable to leave because of what may happen to their pets.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 52 percent of victims in shelters leave their pets with their abusers. And the situation rarely improves. At least 71 percent of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets.
Abusers may be motivated by revenge or an attempt to psychologically control victims. Sadly, the same behavior can be passed down to children. About 32 percent of domestic abuse victims reported their children had hurt or killed animals.
Those who escape often have nothing more than the clothes on their backs. They lack food, medicine, and important health or ownership documents for pets. And, when children are involved, they may be fully unprepared for their new life, without school supplies or any comforts of home.
For those that have left an abusive situation, the Animal Welfare Institute recommends the following:
- Keep pets indoors (if possible)
- Don’t let the pet outside alone
- Pick a safe route and time to walk your pet
- Don’t exercise/walk pet alone
- Change your veterinarian
And for those that are considering leaving, facilities like the Sojourner Center are able to help.
There are about 1,500 shelters for victims of domestic abuse in the United States, but very few accommodate animals. The Sojourner Center helps victims of domestic violence back on their feet, and when animals are involved, keeps families together as they begin anew.
GreaterGood.org’s Jackson Galaxy Project has been working with the Sojourner Center on designing comfortable indoor environments for pets. With the help of Rescue Rebuild, these spaces are being renovated and retrofitted to accept animals.
It costs about $5,000 to transform a domestic violence shelter into a safe haven for victims and their pets, and that work is being accomplished with gifts from people like you.
A gift as small as $10 can provide bedding and supplies for a family’s pet, $20 can cover the needs of a dog or two cats for an entire month, and $100 will add 10 feet of kenneling to a shelter victim’s space.
Click the button below and make a life changing donation today.