The Other Victims of Domestic Violence

26 January 2015

The crime that Rosie Batty endured left Australian’s horrified and her work since to help domestic violence victims have a voice has deservedly awarded her the title Australian Of The Year for 2015. Being a passionate pet lover I wanted to shed some light on some victims that are sometimes a second thought and don’t have a voice. They are impacted just as much in these situations as us humans. These victims are our 4-legged family members.

Many victims of domestic violence remain in violet relationships because they are concerned about the welfare of their pet and the practical challenges of moving with them are just too overwhelming. If they do choose to leave going through such an ordeal such as domestic violence and leaving their special companions can compound the stress and sense of loss they are already experiencing. 

Pets read body language as well as tones in our voices and can be quite sensitive to domestic violence and can cause anxiety and stress. Without a voice to stand up for themselves they often suffer in silence. A recent story in the Sydney Morning Herald identified that pets being abused by their owners can be a sign that women and children are also victims. Additionally an article written on ABC News suggested overseas studies have shown 80% of domestic violence victims reported abusers had also been violent to their pet which concerns me deeply.

We asked ourselves at Pet Check-in what could we do to help? While our immediate mission is to help pet owners travel guilt and stress free we have bigger ambitions. In 2015 we will be developing a program that helps domestic violence victims have access to safe care for their furry loved ones through our network of reputable pet boarding facilities and pet sitters while they seek refuge and rebuild their lives. This way they can leave a dangerous situation and not have to worry about their pet. While many pet welfare organisations, including our friends at Animal Welfare League, already offer this type of care, it can put a strain on their resources and reduce the occupancy for other pets that need shelter. Our approach is to help any person going through domestic violence access to care for their pet no matter where they live in Australia. We are working on building our network of approved facilities to help make this happen. This will be funded through ourselves and our valued partners. 

Stay tuned for further developments but if you want to help us with this mission there are a couple of ways you can help:

1. If you are (or know of) a reputable pet boarding facility or pet sitter who would like to be part of this initiative drop us a line

2. If you know of any contacts within domestic violence organisations that may need our help let us know.

Happy Australia Day! 

Gareth Brock