Pets can sometimes be a barrier to people leaving abusive relationships.
This could be because people do not want to leave their pet behind, or because they are concerned about their pet’s welfare once they have fled.
Research from the Dogs Trust has found that:
- Almost nine in 10 professionals working in the domestic abuse sector have seen cases where a pet has also been abused.
- Almost half (49%) of professionals working in the sector are aware of domestic abuse cases where the pet has been killed.
- In addition to the physical abuse that pets may suffer, 97% of professionals said pets are often used as a means of controlling someone experiencing domestic abuse.
- More than nine in 10 professionals (95%) said that some survivors will not leave their home without knowing their pet would be safe.
What Support is Available?
Cats Protection and the Dogs Trust offer fostering services to enable people to leave for safety knowing that their pet will be looked after in a loving home, until they are able to be reunited.
These services are free, confidential, and hugely important in removing one of the many barriers that people may encounter when leaving an abusive relationship.
Currently, Cats Protection are only able to support people living in London and the Home Counties. You can download their poster to learn more about the ‘‘Paws Protect Service’. The Dogs Trust offer their fostering services across Greater London & the Home Counties, East Anglia, Yorkshire, the North East, the North West, and Scotland.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or concerned about someone who is, see our advice and directory of useful contacts for how to access support.